Burkina Faso, maps to understand the reasons for the latest coup

Eight months after the coup that overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in January, Burkina Faso is experiencing a new coup. On September 30, army units rose up against Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. The latter finally agreed on 2 October to resign before going into exile in Togo. He has since been replaced by Ibrahim Traore, a 34-year-old captain.

The latter particularly criticizes Colonel Damiba for his inability to curb terrorism, a priority that had been set the military in January when Burkina Faso lost control of 40% of its territory in a few years.

Burkina Faso

To go

Niger

Ghana

evils

Senegal

Green beret

Gambia

Guinea-
Bissau

Guinea

Liberia

Sierra
Lion

benign

Ivory Coast

Nigeria

Gulf of Guinea

Niger

Solhan

Inata

Natiaboani

Yirgou

Samorogouan

Bobo Dioulasso

Institute
French
from Bobo-
Dioulasso

Arbinda

Nassoumbou

Ouagadougou

French military base

French embassy

Niamey

East

Center-East

sahel

North

Loop
by Mouhoun

Upper Basins

Burkina Faso in a situation of food crisis

Large geographic areas

Arid steppe: pastoralism, food crops (sorghum, millet)

Wooded savannah: agriculture (cotton, millet, sorghum, corn, peanuts …). Farm

Main resources

Gold mine

Cotton: 3rd African producer in 2020-2021

Park or nature reserve

Burkina Faso in the jihadist vice

Jihadist infiltrations from Libya and Mali

French special forces

French institutions attacked by demonstrators on 1uh October

Area of ​​activity of armed Islamic groups

Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), affiliated with Al-Qaeda, born in Mali

Islamic State Organization in the Great Sahara, born in Mali

Ansaroul Islam, the first local jihadist group

Displaced persons and refugees

As of April 2022, nearly 2 million Burkinabé are internally displaced, while 35,000 are refugees or asylum seekers in the region.

Tensions between farmers and shepherds

In the North, the conflicts between the Fulani shepherds and the Mossi, Foulsé peasants, etc. they have taken on a community dimension. The villages have set up self-defense groups to ensure their safety. The jihadists are taking advantage of the rural crisis to anchor themselves in regions with a Fulani majority, as they are stigmatized as “terrorists”.

Risk of hunger

To the east, jihadist attacks prevent farmers from reaching their plots, forcing them to flee to cities, where food resources are limited.

  • Between 2015 and the end of 2021, jihadist attacks have more than 2,000 dead
  • Nearly 3,300 schools have closed due to the violence
  • 2.6 million Burkinabé will need emergency food aid in 2022 (more than one in ten inhabitants)

Sources: H. Théry and D. Dory, “Solhan: Mapping Terrorism and the Territorial Dynamics of an Insurgency”, Mappemonde (online, 2021); International Crisis Group, “Burkina Faso: emerging from the spiral of violence” (2020); FAO; skillful; OCHA

Bordering Mali and exposed to the instability of the Sahel region, this landlocked country of over 20 million has suffered repeated terrorist attacks since late 2015. Since the first claimed attack in Samorogouan on 9 October 2015, the jihadist violence killed more than 2,000 people, including some 500 members of the defense and security forces, and forced nearly 2 million people to flee their homes.

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Jihadists have taken root in regions where there were pre-existing tensions between farmers and shepherds over access to resources. Village self-defense groups, created to compensate for the state’s inability to address insecurity, have exacerbated intercommunal violence.

Nearly 4,200 schools and 200 medical facilities have been completely closed due to insecurity, limiting residents’ access to education and health care. The violence, and the internal displacement it causes, also limit agricultural production, in a country where over 80% of the population depends heavily on agriculture to guarantee their food security: according to the United Nations, 3.5 million Burkinabé , more than one in ten are in need of food assistance.

A particularly alarming situation in the areas under the jihadist blockade. Last example: on 26 September a convoy of goods, escorted by the army and destined to supply the city of Djibo, was attacked in Gaskindé: at least eleven soldiers were killed and more than fifty civilians missing.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which suspended Burkina in January, before reaching a consensus with the authorities in exchange for the promise of a return to constitutional order by July 2024, announced the dispatch of a mission on the spot.

This new coup comes in a context of exacerbation of anti-French sentiment in the Sahel. On Saturday and Sunday, the embassy and the French Institute of Ouagadougou, as well as that of the country’s second city, Bobo-Dioulasso, were targeted by demonstrators, some of whom have called for rapprochement with Russia.

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