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.
Amid heavy fighting between security forces and jihadist militants, abuses against civilians continued as transitional govt pursued all-military approach to insecurity.
Jihadists inflicted heavy losses on security forces. Govt forces and civilian army auxiliaries (VDPs) late May conducted wide-ranging operations against al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and Islamic State Sahel Province in North region’s Yatenga province, Boucle du Mouhoun region’s Nayala province, and Centre-West region’s Sanguié province. In Centre-East region, suspected jihadists 5 June killed 14 VDPs and four soldiers in Sawengua area, Boulgou province, reportedly prompting airborne counter-attack. In Centre-North region, unidentified jihadists 26 June ambushed supply convoy in Namsiguia village, Bam province, killing at least 31 soldiers and three VDPs, while govt claimed to have killed around 40 assailants; jihadists same day reportedly killed 33 VDPs in Noaka village, Sanmatenga province, with VDPs claiming to have killed 50 jihadists.
State-sponsored militias conducted multiple abuses against civilians. In Centre-East region, suspected VDPs 3 June abducted 19 Fulani civilians from bus near Yargatenga commune, Koulpélogo province, and soldiers and VDPs 6 June killed traditional chief and two other people they accused of collaborating with JNIM in Sawengua village, Boulgou province. In East region, VDPs 10 June abducted at least four people from medical centre in Kompienga province before killing them.
Transitional President Capt. Traoré conducted partial cabinet reshuffle. Traoré 25 June proceeded to partial reshuffle of govt, with departure of four ministers, including those in charge of security and justice; other key ministries including defence, finance and foreign affairs did not change hands.
Govt took further steps to re-align away from traditional Western partners. Traoré 12 June received delegation from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) alliance of major emerging economies. FM Olivia Ragnaghnewendé Rouamba next day signed memorandum of understanding with BRICS delegation, defining priority areas of cooperation, largely related to development. Meanwhile, transitional govt 18 June congratulated Malian authorities on decision to revoke consent for UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA), lauding step as “conforming to the strategic vision of the Malian state” and “affirmation of sovereignty” (see Mali).
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.
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.
As Burkina Faso’s rural conflict rages, the country is also beset by urban unrest. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to lend support to election preparations and encourage the government to devote energy to the crisis in the countryside.
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