Burkina Faso Security Update

As part of our Burkina Faso Security Reporting service, Castor Vali provides a monthly security report. Each report provides an at-a-glance risk assessment, followed by a review of the key events in the previous month and a look ahead to the coming weeks. We also provide security advice to assist businesses with their risk management strategies.

Risk Dashboard

Looking Back

Attacks by militant groups have continued, despite evidence in our Burkina Faso’s Security Update from February that the government had begun talks with jihadist groups operating in the country. Indeed, while the government has engaged in talks with militants, the momentum of attacks has not slowed with some notable incidents occurring in March.

For example, two Ivorian border posts were hit on the night of 28-29 March, including the military post of Kafolo, which had already been the target of a deadly attack in June 2020. Moreover, the country’s gold mines continue to be an attractive target for many actors, including terrorist groups. Two attacks have been recorded this year with the second such incident occurring in Namentenga Province this month.

The regional counter-insurgency response has also faced significant criticism and setbacks over March. Firstly, France has been accused, following an investigation by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), of having bombed a wedding in the Mopti region when it was supposed to be targeting jihadist positions. Secondly, the dispatch of the Chadian battalion to the “three-border zone”, first announced in mid-December 2019, has finally occurred as Chad has now sent troops to Gorom-Gorom this past month.

Looking Ahead

The security situation in Burkina Faso and the wider Sahel remains high risk, with many militant groups and cells operating in the region. Already, forecasts have estimated that the Sahel region is headed for its deadliest year of Islamist-militant violence on record. This comes despite attempts at peace talks. This threat is also continuously trending southwards with countries along the coast now vulnerable, evidenced by Côte d’Ivoire facing new attacks this month.

However, an effective regional counter-insurgency force is unlikely to be forthcoming. While the bombing of the wedding this past month occurred in neighbouring Mali, such actions are only likely to drive further anti-French sentiment across the entire region, hindering security efforts within each country. Moreover, while Chad’s troop deployment to the “three-border zone” is positive, the decision to send the troops had been delayed by the 23 March 2020 attack against the Chadian army, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of soldiers.

As such, any further major attack against Chad’s forces may prompt it to withdraw its troops from the regional fight. As Burkina Faso continues to be impacted by such violence, other economic indicators related to the business climate in the country should, in the coming months, follow the same trajectory as seen in Mali and Niger.

This has already become evident in Burkina Faso as the country was added to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s “grey list” in February, which is reserved for high-risk countries that may be involved in terrorist financing.

The country has recorded a steady decline in its active COVID-19 caseload in recent weeks since a peak of 2,343 active infections on 12 January. Nonetheless, the country remains vulnerable to an uptick in infections over the coming months amid limited healthcare resources and the limited enforcement of social distancing and public health regulations. Additionally, Burkina Faso has yet to launch its vaccination campaign against the virus, with timelines for the delivery of doses from the COVAX global access programme yet to be revealed.

Civil unrest events by type and year in Burkina Faso
Terrorism incidents by Province since January 2019

Advice

Castor Vali maintains its advice to clients to avoid all non-essential travel to the northern, eastern, and southwestern regions bordering Mali, Niger, Benin, Ghana, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire due to the risk of terrorist and organised criminal group attacks. This includes the following regions in Burkina Faso: Hauts-Bassins, Boucle du Mouhoun, North, Sahel, East, Southwest, and Cascades.

If travel to these areas is essential, clients should consider using police escorts and should consult local authorities ahead of their travels. The government has extended a curfew within the Sahel region until 17 April 2021 and the East region until 29 May 2021. In the Sahel, this curfew is in effect: In Dori (the regional capital) from 0001hrs to 0400hrs; In Djibo, Bani, Falagountou, Gorom-Gorom, Sampelga, Sebba and Seytenga, from 2200hrs to 0500hrs; In the rest of the Sahel region, from 1900hrs to 0500hrs.

In the East, this curfew is in effect: In Fada N’Gourma (the regional capital) from 0001hrs to 0400hrs; In the rest of the East region, from 2200hrs to 0500hrs.

Inbound travellers to Burkina Faso are still required to provide a negative PCR coronavirus test result taken no more than five days prior to departure, whilst a 14-day in-country quarantine is required (during which time, additional tests will be conducted on the 1st, 8th, and 14th days). The wearing of face masks is mandatory. Public events have also been restricted.

March significant incident locations

Burkina Faso Regular Security Information Reports Overview

  • Daily Incident Report – provides summaries of events that occurred in the previous day in a short and easily digestible format.
  • Monthly Security Report (MSR) – Sent in the first week of each month, this report covers the previous month. The MSR focuses on the most significant security incidents and events of the month, with context and our analysis.
  • Ad Hoc Deep Dives – Sent around once a quarter, these Deep Dives investigate and provide a forecast for topical issues as and when they arise.

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