(New York, N.Y.) — Violent attacks by Islamist extremists killed approximately 50 people in Burkina Faso last week as the country’s security continue to deteriorate. The attacks were staged between the rural communes of Madjoari and Pama, near Benin and Togo. No specific group has claimed responsibility, but militants connected to al-Qaeda and ISIS have been responsible for thousands of deaths in the country.
Domestic conflict over Burkina Faso’s transition from decades-long military rule to democracy has been punctuated by the terrorist threat. Last week’s attack followed a May 22 attack by jihadists on two villages in Seno province that left at least 11 dead and a May 21 attack in which militants killed at least five soldiers during a large-scale attack in the Central-North region. Together, these attacks were part of a month-long series of raids by suspected jihadists linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS.
A May 2022 Human Rights Watch report asserted violent atrocities against civilians were increasing in Burkina Faso, recording dozens of rapes, killings, and the destruction of villages by extremists across the country between September 2021 and April 2022. As of December 2021, more than 1.4 million people had been displaced inside Burkina Faso, according to the government.
In January 2022, the Burkinabe military deposed President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré following weeks of protests against his government’s handling of the fight against an Islamist insurgency. Shortly after, the junta in Burkina Faso—officially named the Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration (MPSR)—announced it had lifted its suspension of the constitution and appointed coup leader Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba as president. Damiba also called on the international community to back the country in its fight against al-Qaeda and ISIS militants.
To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource Burkina Faso: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here.