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Burkina Faso: At Least 35 Civilians Killed in Convoy Attack

    Burkina Faso: At Least 35 Civilians Killed in Convoy Attack
    Last updated: 2 months ago
    Image credit: AFP [via Le Monde]

    Facts

    • According to the regional governor, at least 35 civilians were killed and 37 injured on Mon. in restive northern Burkina Faso when a convoy of vehicles struck an improvised explosive device (IED). [1]
    • The army-escorted supply convoy was reportedly heading to the capital Ouagadougou when the vehicle was hit by the IED between the northern towns of Djibo and Bourzanga, reportedly killing mostly traders and students. [2]
    • The incident unfolded after Burkina Faso's interim president, Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, spoke Sun. of "relative calm" in parts of the country while the government said it had launched "offensive actions" and entered into dialogue with various armed groups. [3]
    • In early Aug., 15 Burkinabé soldiers died when two IEDs detonated in the same northeastern region, which borders Mali and Niger, after jihadist groups stepped up attacks on the main roads to the northern cities of Dori and Djibo. [4]
    • For seven years, the landlocked African nation has been facing a jihadist insurgency that has reportedly claimed more than 2K lives and displaced another 1.9M. 40% of the country is said to be outside government control, with most fighting concentrated in the north and east of the country. [5]
    • On Sat., Burkina Faso's Pres. met with his Malian counterpart Assimi Goïta in Bamako during his first foreign trip since seizing power in a military coup in January. The two reportedly agreed to strengthen military cooperation in the decade-long fight against the Sahel's jihadist insurgency. [6]
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    Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    It's a good sign that increasing cooperation is emerging between Burkina Faso and its West African neighbors to jointly combat the spread of terrorism in the region and enhance security. The problem of jihadism can only be solved on a multilateral level, and, if regional states put aside their disputes and act together, there's a real possibility of defeating jihadism.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The tragic incident once again proves one thing above all: Burkina Faso's military government hasn't succeeded in keeping its promise to eliminate the jihadist threat. The same is true in neighboring Mali, where a coup government also holds the reins. As long as the response of local governments is focused purely on counterterrorism operations without also addressing the economy and governance, security is unlikely to improve.

    Cynical narrative

    While the Ukraine war dominates the Western headlines, a catastrophe is unfolding in Africa that's barely noticed. The death of dozens of innocent people in Burkina Faso is just the latest indication of a continent in the grips of jihadist terror. And while France is accused of nurturing Sahel terrorism rather than countering it, Washington, which claims to be leading the world in the fight against terrorism, also seems to be abandoning the Sahel states.

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