Hurdles for peace in Burkina Faso

Women shadows in Burkina Faso Women shadows in Burkina Faso Photo by U.Ozel.Images on iStock

06 May 2021

Burkina Faso currently finds itself in a tremendous struggle to achieve peace.

The country is struggling to conduct a proper peace process and to restore stability and order: while jihadists and rebel fighters have been “roiling” the country since 2016, Burkinabe authorities finally started to engage in tentative peace talks with Islamist organizations, mainly the al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM). The talks have since remained highly secretive, but, as The New Humanitarian reports that those talks are indeed happening. However, there are many uncertainties about the real effectiveness and durability of such talks, as Boubacari Dicko, the emir of Djibo, affirmed. Following peace talks several terrorists deposed their weapons and started living together with the rest of the population in cities and villages, thus leading to a very consistent and marked reduction of massacres and civilian casualties. However, as reported by The New Humanitarian, many of those jihadists do not interact with other citizens, usually keeping themselves apart, still possess their weapons and oblige their women to wear veils.

This is still not the only problem Burkina Faso is facing. The country is deeply plagued by rebel bands, which are often responsible for atrocities and slaughters, without reclaiming any responsibility most of the times. An example of this phenomenon is the attack that happened on Monday, May 3, when at least 30 people were killed by unknown gunmen in the eastern part of the country, according to the New Humanitarian. 

On the other side, Burkinabe citizens do not trust the army as there are several allegations against them of violence committed against Fulani community members. They have often been the target of attacks by government soldiers and armed volunteers recruited by authorities.

In this very complex scenario, finally, COVID-19 crisis also plays a crucial role.  It has resulted in the severe reduction of healthcare assistance, already weakened by more than five years of continuous conflict and widespread violence.


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Author: Pasquale Candela; Editor: Shrabya Ghimire

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