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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Deteriorated Situation

Jihadist militants ramped up attacks in north and east mainly against security forces, as protests and strikes continued. In East region, suspected members of jihadist group Ansarul Islam 2 Nov attacked gendarmerie in Soudougui, Koulpélogo province; security forces 12 Nov reportedly repelled attack by unidentified gunmen against gendarmerie in Partiaga, Tapoa province. Roadside bomb and gun attack against police convoy near town of Boungou in east 30 Nov killed five including four police officers. In Centre North region, suspected Ansarul Islam 8 Nov attacked gendarmerie in Namsiguia, Bam province, wounding gendarme. In Centre West region, unidentified gunmen 8 Nov attacked gendarmerie in Silly, Sissilli province, wounding police commissioner. In Sahel region in north, unidentified gunmen 21 Nov attacked police station in Tongomayel, Soum province, wounding police officer. More schools shut down across country as jihadist militants continued intimidation. Suspected members of jihadist group Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) 5 Nov forcibly closed school in Kletafades, Sahel region in north. Schools in Gayeri, East region were shut down 12 Nov after teachers received death threats from suspected Ansarul Islam militants. Unidentified assailants same day reportedly whipped teachers in Toulfé, North region; other teachers in area closed schools in fear of attack. Residents in Fada-Ngourma, East region 1 Nov protested against terrorism and violence. Prison security guards on strike to demand better working conditions same day raided residence of Justice Minister René Bagoro in capital Ouagadougou. Employees at court in Fada-Ngourma 5 Nov closed court due to insecurity, with court security guards on strike since 25 Oct. Several thousand people 29 Nov demonstrated in capital Ouagadougou as part of nationwide strike over higher fuel prices. NGO Human Rights Watch 19 Nov said army 16 Nov allegedly killed fourteen men detained in Gassel Liddji, Soum province, Sahel region.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

6 Mar 2018
In Burkina Faso, the intelligence system did not rest on an institution but on the shoulders of one man, General Gilbert Diendere. We know that some of the 566 soldiers have joined jihadist groups. AFP

Rinaldo Depagne

Senior Adviser Africa & Project Director West Africa
20 Jun 2017
There is a strong sense [in Burkina Faso] that the state has never really done much for the north. [...] Strengthening its military presence isn’t enough – they need to establish trust. Bloomberg

Cynthia Ohayon

Former Analyst, West Africa
3 May 2017
The new rulers [in Burkina Faso] want to use justice when it serves them but they don't want to sink their own ship. Reuters

Cynthia Ohayon

Former Analyst, West Africa
27 Apr 2017
Justice is important for the Burkinabe, and the lack of justice and impunity is one of the reasons people rose against [Burkina Faso's President] Compaore. World Politics Review

Cynthia Ohayon

Former Analyst, West Africa

Latest Updates

Report / Africa

The Social Roots of Jihadist Violence in Burkina Faso’s North

Jihadist violence in the West African Sahel has now spread to the north of Burkina Faso. The response of Ouagadougou and its partners must go beyond the obvious religious and security dimensions of the crisis, and any solution must take into account deep-rooted social and local factors.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

The Sahel: Mali’s Crumbling Peace Process and the Spreading Jihadist Threat

With jihadists and armed groups exploiting political and security vacuums across the Sahel, Mali and neighbouring states will continue to face insecurity. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to rethink international development strategies and to support local government initiatives that combat radicalisation.


Report / Africa

Burkina Faso: Preserving the Religious Balance

In a troubled region, Burkina Faso is a rare example of religious​ diversity and​ tolerance​.​ But a perceived discrepancy between a significant number of Muslims and their low level of public representation has created tensions. To safeguard Burkina’s model of peaceful coexistence, the government must address this sensitive issue through careful reforms, particularly in the education system.​

Also available in Français
Briefing / Africa

Burkina Faso: Transition, Act II

Burkina Faso’s democratically elected new government faces great challenges to deliver on justice, socio-economic needs and regional security. To succeed, authorities must resist the temptation to establish a new one-party hegemony. Instead, they should engage in social dialogue and political reconciliation, military reform, and friendly relations with neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire.

Also available in Français
Video / Africa

Burkina Faso Goes to the Polls

Crisis Group's West Africa Analyst Cynthia Ohayon explains the challenges of the upcoming elections in Burkina Faso and measures how to mitigate the country's tensions after the failed coup in September 2015.