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  HOME PAGE 12/08/2022 22:07 
02.07.2022 12:27 News >> Burkina Faso's Security Situation Has Worsened Since Coup: Experts

Burkina Faso's Security Situation Has Worsened Since Coup: Experts

Conditions have not changed, little progress with military justice, say experts.

Since a Jan. 24 military coup after the government's inability to overcome security threats, insecurity has not decreased in Burkina Faso, where transitional authorities are under pressure from recurrent terrorist attacks.
Armed groups that began attacking Burkina Faso in 2016 have become increasingly abusive, committing hundreds of killings, summary executions, and rapes, as well as widespread looting, according to a report released in May by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
HRW urged the junta to "better protect civilians from attacks and ensure that government forces respect human rights."
More than 500 health centers have closed or are operating at minimal capacity due to insecurity. Nearly 2 million people are at risk, according to the Doctors Without Borders medical charity.
"Every day, eight civilians were killed on average between April 2021 and March 2022 in abuses in the three countries of the central Sahel," including Burkina Faso, according to a recent report -- Sahel: What Has Changed -- published by the Citizen Coalition for the Sahel, an informal alliance of several dozen Sahelian and West African civil society organizations.
Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba -- currently the interim president under the West African country's recently adopted charter -- led a coup on Jan. 23-24 by a group of military officers, called the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration, and overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, the democratically elected head of state, during his second term.
Damiba said security remains as his main priority and he expressed a willingness to significantly destroy terror hideouts and reduce the effect of violent extremism by restoring the will to fight with adequate means for defense and security forces and the Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland (VDP) civilian auxiliaries.
But several months after the coup, "the security situation in Burkina Faso has not changed at all."
"It has clearly worsened because this past month has been one of the multiple diverse attacks with its share of kidnappings and assassinations and destruction of the social fabric in the attacked regions," Regis Hounkpe, a Beninese geopolitical expert and founder of pan-African geostrategy firm Interglobe Conseils, told Anadolu Agency.
Several attacks have taken place under military rule, including the one on Feb. 26 when seven volunteer fighters (VDPs) were killed in an ambush in the Soum province.
The same day, a woman and her two children died when one stepped on an improvised mine.
At least 120 civilians -- including women and children -- and 14 military and security personnel have since been killed in the attacks.
No fault of incapacity
An attack on June 11 in the Seytenga region near the Nigerien border killed 86 civilians, and over 16,000 people fled the "brutal attack," according to the UN.
A recent report by the Citizen Coalition for the Sahel said the number of displaced persons has increased by 61% in one year in Burkina Faso, reaching 1.8 million as of March 31.
The junta, however, has not made any statement or taken action indicating zero tolerance for abuses by the defense and security forces, according to the coalition.
"Military justice has made little progress in investigating serious crimes attributed to the VDP," the report added.
"Despite the commitment of Burkinabe security forces, results are not yet forthcoming," Hounkpe also told Anadolu Agency.
The coup was "absolutely not necessary" in a "country that is already fragile and plagued by the geopolitics of insecurity at work in the Sahel," he said. "It only broke the constitutional order and there is no justification for it to happen to correct the shortcomings of a civilian power that is certainly failing but democratically elected."
Hounkpe said while he believes that the military is neither illegitimate nor incapacitated to fight terrorism and to devote itself to security because it is the area it masters best, "it is wise to involve the population in terms of human and territorial intelligence to know the movements of armed terror groups or any unusual and suspicious signals."
He stressed the "vital" need for international cooperation and the development of an integrated response by African and Sahelian countries.
"Negotiations with armed terrorist groups should not be taboo. It is certainly explosive but possible," he said, noting the importance of the "social challenge to be met in a poor and unstructured country where the temptations are enormous in a disoriented social stratum."
Returning to constitutional order is also unconditional, but it must be done gradually and inclusively, he said.
Hounkpe believes that Burkina Faso's human capital is one of the solutions to improve the conditions for a stable environment.
"Youth, civil society, and women have an important role to play in this renewal, provided that the various protagonists of the security and political crisis join forces to confront the jihadist threat," he said. -



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