PHOTOS: Burkina Faso President Visits Buhari In Abuja

 

President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, and President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja

 

The President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kabore on Thursday Visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

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Burkina Faso Blast Kills Six, Mostly Children

 

At least six people, mostly children, died when an improvised explosive device went off in northern Burkina Faso, security sources and local officials said on Sunday.

The IED, which exploded as the group’s cart was passing late Saturday, also injured four others, they said.

Northern Burkina Faso is notorious for jihadist attacks which have killed more than 1,000 people there and displaced about a million more since 2015.

The victims were “nearly all children who were returning from grazing their livestock”, a local in Ouahigouya said. “The cart which carried some of them rolled over a mine.”

IED attacks have multiplied since 2018, killing nearly 200 military personnel and civilians, according to an AFP tally. Such attacks are often combined with an ambush.

Jihadist violence, which is often accompanied by inter-community strife, has killed more than 4,000 people in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, according to United Nations figures.

AFP

Jihadist Bloodshed Brings Burkina Faso To Its Knees

File Photo of gunman, posing for a portrait on an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) of the French Army during the Barkhane operation in northern Burkina Faso on November 12, 2019.
MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

 

 

Little more than five years ago, Burkina Faso was on the up, priding itself as a favoured tourist destination for well-heeled Europeans.

Today, the country seems to be visibly sinking, battered by a jihadist revolt that has swept in from neighbouring Mali, rolled into Niger and cast a shadow on the countries to the south.

More than 1,650 civilians and soldiers have died since 2015, according to a local monitoring group, the Observatory for Democracy and Human Rights (ODDH) — a  figure that some say is probably just a fraction of the real tally.

Nearly a million people have fled their homes and nowhere in the country rates as safe, under travel recommendations issued by Western governments.

The country, one of the poorest in the world, is scarred by stories of tragedy.

“My wife was killed in an attack in Arbinda in December, leaving a two-year-old baby,” said Aly Sidibe, a 42-year-old former herder displaced in the northern city of Kaya.

“The child is in Ouagadougou. He is being taken care of by social services.”

Sidibe said he had lost his entire herd.

“I had more than 50 cattle. I don’t even have a sheep anymore,” he said.

– ‘Lazy king’ –
Burkina Faso lies in the heart of the Sahel, whose leaders have joined a French-backed effort to roll back jihadism in the vast semi-desert region.

President Emmanuel Macron will join his five allies in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott on Tuesday to debate the state of the campaign.

Burkinabe General Moise Miningou, speaking to AFP, hit out at perceptions that the armed forces were failing.

“People who talk like that do not know the real situation,” he said, pointing to a strategy of “liberating axes (and) securing populations.”

“(…) The battle is hard but we will shortly get results,” he said, noting that the country would have five operational combat helicopters by the end of the year.

Security sources say the armed forces have been a casualty of Burkina’s political turmoil.

For several years, Burkina Faso seemed immune to jihadist attacks — the result, according to some analysts, of a secret deal between the then president, Blaise Compaore, and militant groups.

After Compaore was ousted in 2014, the armed forces were essentially muzzled, deprived of funding, equipment and training, according to the sources.

The transitional government that took over and the government of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who took power in 2015, were afraid of coups.

“We had an army without weapons, an army without ammunition and not trained at all,” said one source.

As the jihadist attacks mounted from 2015, the security forces became overwhelmed, said Mahamoudou Savadogo, a Burkinabe researcher specialising in armed Islamism.

“The army was never equipped, and there was never an appropriate strategy,” Savadogo said.

As a result the armed forces went from defeat to defeat, sometimes masking shortcomings with announcements of spectacular victories.

In the long term, the territory over which the state exercises its authority is shrinking and the army, police, teachers and administration are absent from whole swathes of the country.

Some say Kabore has done little to quell the relentless jihadist attacks.

“He’s a kind of lazy king who holds more and more audiences and listens in his chair without making any decisions,” a diplomatic source in Abidjan said.

– Cycle of retribution –
Savadogo said the void left by the state has been filled by inter-communal violence.

He pointed to the clashes between the Mossi and Fulani — an ethnic herder group, also called Peuls, who are accused by other communities of complicity with the jihadists — as the example of a vicious circle.

“The Mossi abuses in retaliation for the actions of armed terrorist groups have practically pushed young Fulani to join jihadism. They really have no other choice if they want to survive, but also to take revenge,” he said.

Exacerbating inter-communal tensions is a recurrent strategy of jihadist groups throughout the Sahel, according to a French security source.

These groups also seek to appeal to the aspirations of populations abandoned by the state. They have threatened holders of hunting concessions and mining sites, often granted by corrupt state officials, and then offer the hunting and gold-panning areas to locals in the north and east.

Drissa Traore, a teacher and political analyst, said Kabore’s lavish promises on security are unlikely to impress the public, many of whom are likely to see it as a campaign pitch ahead of presidential elections due in November.

“Their worries are elsewhere. Water, gas, food, everything is lacking… Even when these products are available, the prices are tripled or quadrupled,” Traore added.

The security crisis may deprive entire areas of the country from taking part in the vote, which could lead to a skewed or disputed result.

“Despite a disastrous record, the ruling party will win, because the opposition has no leader. We run the risk of even more tension,” predicted Savadogo. “We’re going to sink even further.”

 

 

-AFP

Over 30 Killed In Eastern Burkina Faso Attack

PHOTO USED TO DEPICT THE STORY File photo of soldiers from the French Army holds detectors while searching for the presence of IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) during the Burkhane Operation in northern Burkina Faso. PHOTO: MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

 

Gunmen killed around 30 people at a livestock market in the eastern Burkina Faso town of Kompienbiga, local residents said Sunday, in an attack blamed by a security source on jihadists.

The assailants “burst into the market riding motorbikes and started shooting, especially at people who were trying to flee”, one resident said, estimating the death toll at around 30 from the attack on Saturday.

A second resident said: “It’s hard to say how many people were killed. There were bodies in the market, and others in the bush.”

But he added: “More than 30 bodies were collected” after the attack. He said his brother was at the market at the time and he had had “no news” from him since.

A local official put the death toll at “several dozen” including vendors and residents,  while a security source said “armed terrorists” carried out the attack, while declining to estimate how many were killed.

The attack came a day after a convoy of mainly shopkeepers escorted by a local self-defence unit came under fire in the north of the West African country, leaving 15 dead.

The bloodshed in Loroum province was also blamed on jihadists.

The east and north of the former French colony are the hardest hit by attacks by jihadists, who have killed more than 900 people and caused some 860,000 people to flee their homes in the past five years.

Burkina Faso’s armed forces are leading counter-terror operations with increasing frequency.

The impoverished Sahel country is part of a regional effort to battle an Islamist insurgency along with Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Chad.

Their militaries, under-equipped and poorly trained, are struggling despite help from France, which has 5,000 troops in the region.

Unrest in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger killed around 4,000 people last year, according to UN figures.

AFP

Burkina Faso Ministers Infected With Coronavirus Amid New Deaths

Stanislas Ouaro (wearing a mask), Burkina Faso Minister of Education, takes part in the first session of the Burkina Faso National Committee on COVID-19 Epidemic (Comite national de gestion de l’epidemie COVID-19), in Ouagadougou on March 19, 2020.   AFP

 

Four government ministers are among the latest cases of coronavirus in Burkina Faso where two new deaths were reported by the country’s health emergency response operations centre on Saturday.

According to press releases issued by their respective departments, the ministers of foreign affairs, interior, education, and mines and quarries have all tested positive for COVID-19.

“Two deaths (have been) recorded today, bringing the number of deaths since the start of the epidemic to three,” the report from the operations centre known as Corus said.

“Twenty-four (new) cases were confirmed on March 20, including 19 in Ouagadougou, two in Bobo-Dioulasso, two in Boromo and one in Dedougou.”

Burkina Faso now has a total of 64 confirmed cases (29 women and 35 men), according to the report.

A poor and landlocked country in West Africa, with a population of 20 million, Burkina Faso recorded the first death linked to the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa on Wednesday.

Five cases of recovery, including the first infected couple, were also recorded, according to the Corus.

Burkina Faso announced on Friday evening the closure of its land and air borders and the introduction of a curfew starting on March 21, to fight against the coronavirus epidemic.

AFP

Burkina Faso Reports First Coronavirus Death In Sub-Saharan Africa

Men crossing a road wear face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of the new COVID-19 coronavirus in Ouagadougou, on March 16, 2020. – The Burkina Faso government announced the closure of schools and universities until March 31, 2020, as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus. The government also ordered the suspension of public and private demonstrations and rallies until the end of April 2020. OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT / AFP.

 

The Sahel state of Burkina Faso on Wednesday announced its first death from coronavirus, which is also the first known fatality in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We recorded the death overnight of a female patient aged 62, who suffered from diabetes and was in intensive care,” Burkina’s national coordinator for responding to the virus, Professor Martial Ouedraogo, told the press.

With the addition of seven new cases, “the number of patients (in Burkina Faso) stands at 27, comprising 15 women and 12 men”, Ouedraogo said.

The tally includes a case in the town of Bobo Dioulasso, the first outside the capital Ouagadougou.

Africa has lagged behind the global curve for coronavirus infections and deaths, although the reasons for this are unclear.

As of Wednesday, a tally of reported cases, compiled by AFP, stood at 576 for all of Africa.

Of these, 15 cases have been fatal: six in Egypt, five in Algeria, two in Morocco, one in Sudan and one in Burkina Faso.

READ ALSO: Zimbabwe VP In China For Medical Check

Experts have sounded loud warnings about the vulnerability of sub-Saharan countries to the highly contagious respiratory virus.

Many countries are at high risk, given weak health systems, poverty, urban slums, porous borders and poor sanitation.

A 2016 analysis by the Rand Corporation, a US thinktank, found that of the 25 countries in the world that were most vulnerable to infectious outbreaks, 22 were in Africa — the others were Afghanistan, Yemen and Haiti.

The report put the finger on a “disease hot spot belt” extending on a line of countries, running across the southern rim of the Sahara through the Sahel to the Horn of Africa, many of which are struggling with conflicts.

“Were a communicable disease to emerge within this chain of countries, it could easily spread across borders in all directions, abetted by high overall vulnerability and a string of weak national health systems along the way,” the report warned.

On Saturday, Burkina Faso ordered the closure of all schools and a ban on all public and private gatherings until the end of April.

AFP

Benin Republic Confirms First Coronavirus Case

(FILES) This file handout illustration image obtained February 3, 2020, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Lizabeth MENZIES / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP.

 

West Africa’s Benin on Monday announced its first confirmed coronavirus case as the continent scrambles to stop the spread of the global pandemic.

Health minister Benjamin Hounkpatin said a man coming from neighbouring Burkina Faso had tested positive, having recently visited Belgium.

Health Minister Benjamin Hounkpatin said a man from neighbouring Burkina Faso, who had recently visited Belgium, tested positive after arriving in Benin.

READ ALSO: Liberia Confirms First Case Of Coronavirus

The announcement comes as numerous nations in sub-Saharan Africa have begun imposing entry restrictions or closing schools and banning public gatherings.

AFP

Burkina Faso Attacks Kill 43

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 12, 2019 soldiers from the French Army holds detectors while searching for the presence of IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) during the Burkhane Operation in northern Burkina Faso. 
MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

 

At least 43 people have been killed in attacks in northern Burkina Faso, the government said on Monday, in what local sources described as apparent vigilante reprisals for jihadist violence.

Burkina Faso has battled against a jihadist insurgency since 2015, but the conflict has also provoked attacks on Fulani herders who other communities accuse of supporting militants.

“On Sunday, attacks were carried out on the villages of Dinguila and Barga… in Yatenga province. The provisional toll is 43 victims,” the government said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Sudan PM Escapes Assassination

The statement did not blame any group for the attack or mention the Fulani community.

According to local sources, Fulani people make up the bulk of the population of the villages. Since jihadists have recruited among the Fulani, other communities accuse them of supporting militants.

Vigilante reprisal attacks against Fulani villages have been on the rise.

A year ago, armed militia attacked the village of Yirgou and killed six people including the village chief, triggering a wave of violence between rival communities.

Burkina Faso is in the centre of the Sahel region where a militant insurgency has spread from Mali. Attacks in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso killed at least 4,000 people in 2019, according to the United Nations.

AFP

Thousands Of Burkina Faso Civil Servants Protest New Tax

Protesters take part in a demonstration called by the workers unions against the imposition of bonuses for civil servants, in Ouagadougou, on March 7, 2020. OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT / AFP
Protesters take part in a demonstration called by the workers unions against the imposition of bonuses for civil servants, in Ouagadougou, on March 7, 2020. OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT / AFP

 

Thousands of Burkina Faso civil servants took to the streets of Ouagadougou on Saturday to protest against a new tax on bonus payments.

Between 10,000-20,000 took part in the demonstrations, some singing the national anthem and chanting “bread and freedom for the people”, an AFP reporter saw.

The government in February extended an exceptional tax on civil servants bonuses.

According to authorities it was needed to bring civil servants into line with private sector workers.

Of the country’s 200,000 civil servants, 190,000 saw their salary in February decrease by 1,000-5,0000 West African CFA francs (1.5-7.5 euros, $1.7-8.5).

“Workers are being crushed by so many taxes. This new tax will not change anything in the country as long as the leaders do not make the competent management of the public good a priority,” health worker Sayouba Compaore, 43, told AFP.

Unions are planning a general strike from March 16-20 with a march to be held on March 17.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, elected in 2015, had pledged to reduce poverty through an ambitious national economic and social development plan.

But his government failed to secure the 28 billion euros ($32 billion) needed to fund it.

Along with neighbours Mali and Niger, Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world, is facing a growing jihadist insurgency that has put even greater strain on its economy.

Jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso have killed around 800 people and forced 800,000 from their homes since 2015.

 

AFP

Twenty-Four Killed In Burkina Faso Church Attack

PHOTO USED TO DEPICT THE STORY: In this file photo taken on March 02, 2019, Burkinabe soldiers take part in a ceremony in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso’s security forces are overwhelmed by the flare-up of attacks carried out almost every day by jihadist groups. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

Gunmen have killed 24 people and wounded 18 in an attack on a Protestant church in a village in northern Burkina Faso, the regional governor said Monday.

A group of “armed terrorists” burst into the village of Pansi, in Yagha province “and attacked the peaceful local population after having identified them and separated them from non-residents”, Colonel Salfo Kabore said in a statement sent to AFP.

The assault occurred on Sunday during a weekly service, security officials said.

“The provisional toll is 24 killed, including the pastor… 18 wounded and individuals who were kidnapped,” Kabore said.

A resident of the nearby town of Sebba said Pansi villagers had fled there for safety.

One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso is on the front line of a jihadist insurgency advancing in the Sahel.

Since 2015, around 750 people have been killed in Burkina and around 600,000 people have fled their homes.

Christians and churches have become frequent targets in the north of the country.

On February 10, suspected jihadists in Sebba seized seven people at the home of a pastor. Five bodies were found three days later, including the pastor, according to the local governor.

According to UN figures, jihadist attacks in Burkina and neighbouring Mali and Niger left nearly 4,000 people dead last year.

Their armed forces are weak, struggling with poor equipment and lack of training and funding.

AFP

About 20 Killed In Burkina Faso Terrorist Attack

 

Suspected jihadists killed nearly 20 civilians in an attack overnight on the northern Burkina Faso village of Bani, Seno province, security sources said Sunday.

“The attackers, heavily armed and on motorbikes, literally executed the local inhabitants,” the security source told AFP. The attackers left nearly 20 dead, the source added.

A local health official, speaking from the town of Dori in the north, said the chief nurse at the nearby village of Lamdamol was among the victims.

“There is panic in the village and the surrounding area,” the official added, saying local people were fleeing the area towards the centre-north of the country.

Another security source said that the attack had come as a reprisal after jihadists had told local people to leave the area a few days earlier.

The security forces worked day and night to make the zone safe, “but it is difficult to be everywhere at once”, said the source.

This latest attack comes a week after several similar attacks in the north of the country.

On January 25, an attack killed 39 civilians in the village of Silgadji, in the neighbouring province of Soum, northwest of Seno.

Burkina Faso borders Mali to the northwest and Niger to the east, both countries that are struggling to contain a wave of lethal jihadist attacks.

Burkina’s security forces, under-equipped and poorly trained, have not been able to counter the deadly raids in their territory, despite the help of foreign soldiers, notably French troops.

According to UN figures, the jihadist attacks in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso killed 4,000 people in 2019 and caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, having forced 600,000 to flee their homes.

AFP

Burkina Faso Rocked By New Jihadist Massacre

A girl stands next to tents in a camp for internally displaced people in Barsalogho, on January 27, 2020. Barsalogho is a small town in northern Burkina Faso that hosts 10,000 displaced persons and refugees fleeing the resulting jihadist and inter-community violence.
Burkina Faso, which borders Mali and Niger, is facing jihadist attacks, which have killed more than 750 people since 2015. Under-equipped and poorly trained law enforcement agencies in Burkina Faso are unable to stop the spiral of violence. According to the United Nations, jihadist attacks in Mali, Niger, and Burkina have resulted in 4,000 deaths in 2019.
OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT / AFP

 

At least 10 men have been killed in a jihadist massacre at a village in Burkina Faso, which is in the grip of a years-long Islamist insurgency, security and local sources told AFP on Tuesday.

“We are talking of between 10 and 30 dead” in the assault, which targeted the village of Silgadji in northern Soum province, said a security official.

The attack was launched on Saturday and jihadists were still in the area on Monday, a resident in nearby Bourzanga town told AFP by phone, citing accounts from those who had fled.

“The terrorists surrounded the people at the village market, before separating them into two groups. The men were executed and the women were ordered to leave the village,” the source said.

The security source said: “Security teams are trying to get to the site but access to the village has probably been booby-trapped with homemade mines, and they are having to proceed carefully.”

 

– Hundreds killed –

Jihadist groups have killed almost 800 people in Burkina Faso and displaced 600,000 more since the start of 2015 when extremist violence began to spread from neighbouring Mali.

The attack comes on the heels of a massacre of 36 people at two villages in northern Sanmatenga province on January 20, prompting President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to declare two days of national mourning.

Located in the heart of the vast Sahel region on the southern fringe of the Sahara, Burkina Faso is one of the most impoverished countries in the world.

Its army is ill-equipped and poorly trained to deal with the threat although in recent months commanders claim to have killed roughly 100 jihadists.

The assaults typically entail fast-moving jihadists who arrive on motorbikes, attacking the market place.

There are 4,500 French troops deployed in the region, which are now backed by armed drones, as well as a 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Mali.

They support the forces of the “G5 Sahel” anti-terror group — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.

The day after the attacks in Sanmatenga, the Burkina parliament adopted unanimously a law allowing for the recruitment of local volunteers in the fight against jihadists.

Volunteers aged over 18 will be given 14 days of military training, after which they will be given small arms and other communication equipment.

The recruits would be expected to conduct surveillance and provide information and protection for their communities in the event of an attack while waiting for security forces to deploy, according to Defence Minister Cheriff Sy.

According to UN figures, jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger last year claimed around 4,000 lives.

Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes, sparking a humanitarian crisis.

AFP