Burkina Faso: One Year After the Second Coup, Armed Group Attacks Show No Sign of Decline

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On September 30th, 2022, Captain Ibrahim Traoré ousted Lieutenant Colonel Damiba, who had seized power from the elected President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in January of the same year. On October 2nd, Ibrahim Traoré secured the resignation of Lieutenant Colonel Damiba and effectively became the president of the Burkinabé military transition. This second coup was justified by the first coup’s inability to combat the Islamist insurgency in Burkina Faso. However, since then, while the number of attacks has decreased, the casualties inflicted by armed groups have continued to rise.

Twelve months after Ibrahim Traoré’s coup, insecurity linked to armed groups has not abated; in fact, it has worsened. This is despite the support provided to the Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP) and the military’s acquisition of equipment – some of which has been diverted by jihadists, as seen recently in Koumbri.

Although attacks have been somewhat less frequent – 1,700 attacks recorded between January and August this year compared to 2,500 during the same period last year – they have resulted in many more casualties: 6,000 deaths versus 4,100, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (Acled).

The situation is particularly dire in the northern and eastern regions of Burkina Faso, including Sahel, Centre Nord, North, Boucle du Mouhoun, and East. Cities like Dori and Ouahigouya are effectively under jihadist blockade and rely on special convoys for their resupply.

While the junta claims that 191,000 Burkinabé have returned to their villages and 900 classes have reopened or been relocated, the UNHCR estimates that 2 million Burkinabé are internally displaced, while UNICEF reports 1 million children out of school due to the lack of classrooms. 4.7 million people depend on humanitarian aid, which is one in every five Burkinabé.

Soukaina Sghir

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