President Ibrahim Traoré has reinforced the role of Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDPs) in Burkina Faso's fight with jihadists. While VDP militias help secure national territory, their actions also fuel violence. With the help of external partners, the authorities should rein them in.
Ouagadougou announced withdrawal from West African regional bloc alongside Mali and Niger, dealing blow to regional integration; authorities claimed foiling coup attempt and Russian troop deployment continued.
Junta announced leaving ECOWAS, defying pressure to restore constitutional rule. Junta leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger 28 Jan announced leaving ECOWAS, denouncing “inhumane” sanctions imposed by regional bloc following coups. ECOWAS immediately said three countries were “important members of the Community” and bloc “remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to the political impasse”; also said it had not yet received formal withdrawal notification.Deployment of Russian troops accelerated. Contingent of about 100 Russian military personnel 24 Jan reportedly arrived in capital Ouagadougou in what appeared to be initial phase of 300-member force deployment.Authorities continued to silence dissent amid report of coup plot. Authorities 18 Jan announced foiling coup attempt scheduled to take place 14 Jan, accused network of military officers, as well civilians and activists, of conspiring to destabilise institutions. Meanwhile, silencing of dissent continued. Notably, men in civilian clothes 24 Jan arrested lawyer and political activist Guy-Hervé Kam in capital Ouagadougou on undisclosed charges; his political movement accused transitional authorities of orchestrating “kidnapping”.Govt forces and civilian auxiliaries continued to clash with jihadist militants. In Centre-North region, al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) militants 3 Jan attacked military base in Gabou town, Sanmatenga province, killing seventeen members of state-sponsored civilian militia (VDPs). In Sahel region, army 21 Jan reportedly killed prominent leader of Islamic State Sahel Province, Harouna Oulel, near Oueldi village, Oudalan province. NGO Human Rights Watch 25 Jan accused security forces of killing at least 60 civilians in drone strikes between Aug and Nov 2023, said attacks may amount to war crimes. Transitional President Capt. Traoré 5 and 10 Jan shared details about previously announced tax hikes on salaries and govt bonuses and benefit increases for VDPs; new taxes illustrate Ouagadougou’s financial difficulties, while prospect of better conditions for VDPs may backfire if authorities fail to fulfil promises.
Tensions within the army [in Burkina Faso] have exacerbated over the past months because President Damiba has not been able to restore security in the country.
Crisis-ridden Mali and Burkina Faso face jihadist insurgency and political turmoil. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2023 – Spring Update, Crisis Group outlines what the EU and its member states can do to prevent these two countries from falling into further regional isolation.
Insurgents have established bases in an important nature reserve spanning parts of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. They pose a growing danger to local ecosystems and people living around the park. The three countries need to collaborate more closely to keep the threat at bay.
On 4 September, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba gave a speech reviewing his actions since he seized power on 24 January 2022. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Mathieu Pellerin and Rinaldo Depagne analyse this milestone.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood talks with Crisis Group expert Rinaldo Depagne about the coup in Burkina Faso, the latest in a series of military takeovers in Africa.
On 24 January, a military junta overthrew Burkina Faso’s president, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Mathieu Pellerin and Rinaldo Depagne explain how this latest coup confirms the failure of democratically elected regimes in West Africa.
Since 2013, when it sent troops to Mali, France has led international efforts to root out Islamist militancy from the Sahel. Yet the jihadist threat has grown. Paris and its partners should reorient their military-centred approach toward helping improve governance in the region.
Le Burkina Faso et le Niger se dirigent tous deux vers des élections générales. Rinaldo Depagne et Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim décryptent leurs enjeux et insistent sur la nécessité pour leurs vainqueurs de se pencher sur l’insécurité croissante dans les régions rurales, provoquée en grande partie par la présence de groupes jihadistes.
The proliferation of armed groups and the expanding footprint of jihadist groups fuelled violence in Burkina Faso in 2019. The government should adopt a more integrated approach to security and tackle the crisis in rural areas by resolving land disputes.
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