In a stark revelation, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a document on Thursday, January 25th, 2024, detailing the aftermath of military strikes in Burkina Faso, where at least 60 civilians lost their lives. The government of the transitional regime had portrayed these strikes as targeting jihadist fighters.
Between August and November 2023, three aerial attacks on Bouro, Bidi, and Boulkessi in northern Burkina Faso left devastation in their wake, targeting markets and even a funeral ceremony. Contrary to the government’s claims, witnesses interviewed by HRW asserted that the victims were not terrorists.
Beyond these condemnations, the report’s author, researcher Ilaria Allegrozzi, expressed concerns in an interview with Frédéric Garat, highlighting the global indifference towards events unfolding in the Sahel region. Allegrozzi stressed that nations continuing to collaborate with the military junta bear a responsibility, stating, “Burkina Faso is currently the epicenter of conflict and violence in the Sahel, yet it fails to make headlines.”
Drawing attention to the crisis, Allegrozzi emphasized, “It is a crisis, a conflict entirely overlooked by the international community. It is a truly forgotten crisis. It is crucial to bring attention to these conflicts by urging Burkina Faso’s international partners to denounce such situations and condemn the abuses committed by security forces. Governments with military cooperation with Burkina Faso have a responsibility.”
She pointed specifically to the United States, stating, “There is still a portion of American aid going to Burkina Faso. However, according to U.S. law, the United States should thoroughly assess whether human rights violations by members of the Burkinabe junta are occurring and if the provided aid complies with American law.” Allegrozzi stressed the importance of holding nations accountable for their support amid reports of human rights abuses in Burkina Faso.