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Burkina Faso

CrisisWatch Burkina Faso

Unchanged Situation

Amid continued jihadist violence in north and east, fighting flared between competing jihadist groups and security forces faced allegations of extrajudicial killings. Jihadist attacks in north continued to spread southward in border areas between Sahel, North, and Centre-North regions, and westward in Boucle du Mouhoun region. Suspected jihadists 1 April attacked Toéni military base, Sourou province in Boucle du Mouhoun region, reportedly killing soldier; fifteen jihadists also killed. Also in Toéni area, military vehicle 3 April detonated explosive device, three soldiers killed. Suspected militants of jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 9-10 April killed at least nineteen soldiers in Solle area, Loroum province in North region. In East region, suspected jihadists 4 April killed police officer near Kantchari, Tapoa province, 20 April abducted another in southern Kompienga province near Benin. Security forces continued counter-insurgency operations, reportedly killing at least 36 suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) militants in Sahel region in April. Violence flared mid-April between Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and JNIM after latter called on its militants to fend off ISWAP; clashes between militants 14, 16, 20 and 30 April in Soum province, Sahel region reportedly left at least 100 dead. Security forces faced allegations of summary executions of civilians. NGO Human Rights Watch 20 April said security forces 9 April allegedly killed 31 ethnic Fulani civilians during counter-insurgency operation near Djibo town, Sahel region; govt same day announced investigation. Govt 2 April said it would unblock $650mn to mitigate social, economic, and health impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

8 Jan 2020
Burkina is a gateway to coastal West Africa and there is a real concern that jihadist groups may see it as a launching pad to gain other footholds in the coastal region. Financial Times

Comfort Ero

Program Director, Africa
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

Briefing / Africa

L’Afrique de l’Ouest face au risque de contagion jihadiste

Face à la percée jihadiste au Burkina Faso, porte ouverte sur les pays du Golfe de Guinée, ceux-ci craignent des attaques sur leurs territoires. Les Etats de la région devraient améliorer le partage du renseignement, renforcer les contrôles aux frontières et renouer un lien de confiance avec la population.

Also available in English
Report / Africa

Reprendre en main la ruée vers l’or au Sahel central

Au Mali, au Burkina Faso et au Niger, le boom aurifère représente une nouvelle source de financement, voire un terrain de recrutement pour divers groupes armés, y compris jihadistes. Les Etats sahéliens devraient rétablir leur présence aux abords des mines d’or et mieux formaliser l’exploitation aurifère artisanale.

Also available in English
Commentary / Africa

Tackling Burkina Faso’s Insurgencies and Unrest

Burkina Faso is suffering mounting insurgent attacks and social unrest. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2019 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to support the return of some Burkinabé troops from Mali and to fund social programs that could ease discontent.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

Burkina Faso’s Alarming Escalation of Jihadist Violence

Attacks on the Burkina Faso army headquarters and the French Embassy on 2 March 2018 were better organised, involved heavier weapons and were more sustained than anything seen so far in Burkina Faso. In this Q&A, our West Africa Project Director Rinaldo Depagne says the jihadist assault further exposes worrying weakness in the Burkinabé security forces.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

The Sahel: Promoting Political alongside Military Action

Rural insurgencies across the Sahel are destabilising the region and undermining local security and governance. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to continue support for the Alliance for the Sahel and promote local dialogue to buttress law and order.