Tag Archives: Burkina Faso

EU increases support to Sahel

Brussels 20.10.2020 Today, the European Union, Denmark and Germany and the United Nations co-host a virtual Ministerial Roundtable on Africa’s Central Sahel region, with the participation of donors and international organisations, as well as the countries concerned: Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The event will discuss longer-term perspectives for countries in the region to overcome the spiral of violence and humanitarian crises they are currently facing. It also aims at mobilising support for the region, especially as coronavirus pandemic increases humanitarian needs.

Representing the EU at the event, Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, will pledge a total of €43.6 million on behalf of the EU to the three countries in the Central Sahel region for the rest of 2020.

“Throughout recent years, the EU has been particularly committed to the Sahel and international support provided has been significant. Yet, the security, social and humanitarian situation in Central Sahel is only deteriorating. In face of this dramatically worsening situation, together – the international community and the governments concerned – we must do better, more and act fast. Only by addressing the deep-rooted causes can we succeed in providing a better life to the people caught in the crises afflicting the region” Lenarčič said.

“Today’s conference is a very clear sign of our solidarity towards the Sahel region and its people. Our €20 million support to the World Food Programme will help the most vulnerable in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, and especially pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children. We hope to assist 65,000 people next year with this project. If we all join forces along the peace-development-humanitarian nexus and our partner countries take responsibility for improving governance and reforms, I am convinced that we can make a difference for the people in the Sahel. Team Europe will keep on supporting the people of Sahel” Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships said.

The EU’s pledge consists of: €23.6 million in funding for humanitarian actions in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
€20 million in development funding to address the food crisis afflicting the Central Sahel region, in cooperation with the World Food Programme.
Overall, EU and the EU Member States have mobilised around €8 billion since 2014 to help stabilise the Sahel region.

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are at the core of one of the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crises created by a combination of conflict, climatic changes and poverty. It is estimated that a staggering 13.4 million people across the Central Sahel are in need of humanitarian assistance.

In 2020, the EU has mobilised a total €84.6 million in humanitarian assistance for Central Sahel countries, including the amount that will be pledged today. In June 2020, the EU also organised two EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Burkina Faso, carrying 26 tonnes of humanitarian supplies and equipment needed for the coronavirus response in the country.

Since 2014, the EU has invested more than €3.4 billion in development cooperation for the three Central Sahel countries Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with the objective to strengthen the capacities of the state in the long term, while providing a short and medium-term response to the needs of the most vulnerable population. The investments covered a broad range of areas: from security; good governance; transparency; public finance; the respect of human rights to basic social services (education, food security and health).

MALI: 25 perished in attacks

Islamist militants are suspected to be a group behind the killing 25 people including 13 soldiers in multiple attacks in central Mali, burning down an army base and ambushing troops sent as reinforcements, the army and local authorities said on October 13.

The attacks were the deadliest since the August 18 military coup d’état ousting unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and came just days after scores of jailed jihadists were freed by the interim government in a prisoners for hostages swap.

Nine soldiers were killed in the first attack that took place overnight against a base in Sokoura near the border with Burkina Faso, the army statement reads.

At around 8:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) on Tuesday, on October 13, another three soldiers were killed in an ambush at a bridge near the base as their unit headed to the scene of the first attack, the army statement explains.

Nine militants were killed in clashes with the reinforcement unit and two of their vehicles destroyed by the air force.

In a third assault about 40 minutes later near the town of Bandiagara, gunmen ambushed a commercial truck, killing 12 traders and one soldier, according to Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of nearby Bankass, to which the traders were en route.

A witness said he saw nine bodies at the military base and helped transport 20 wounded to local medical centres.

“They (jihadists) took all the vehicles and burned those they could not take away. The camp is burned,” said the witness, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal.

A transitional government has been appointed since the military coup. But regional and international powers fear the violence could further destabilise the West African nation and undermine a French-directed military campaign against insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the wider Sahel region.

Côte d’Ivoire joined counterterrorist operation

Soldiers from Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso conducted their first joint operation against jihadists insurgency near their shared border, neutralising eight suspected militants and arresting 14 others, Ivorian army said on May 24.

Burkina Faso and its neighbours Mali and Niger in West Africa’s vast Sahel zone are conducting operaions against Islamist insurgencies with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, claiming to re-consturct the historic Caliphe of Sokoto.

Those terrorist groups have been strengthening and expanding their range of operations, leaving coastal countries like Cote d’Ivoire at risk of violence and unrest breaking into their territories.

The joint operation was launched on May 11 with about 1,000 Ivorian soldiers participating from their side of the 580-kilometre border with Burkina Faso, Ivorian army announced in a statement.

The suspected militants were killed in Burkina Faso, the army confirmed, adding that the operation is ongoing.

Jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have escalated dramatically over the past year despite significant military support from France, which is engaged in partnerships with former colonies.

While Cote d’Ivoire has mostly been spared the violence affecting its neighbours, it was the victim in 2016 of an attack claimed by al Qaeda in which gunmen killed 19 people at a beach resort.
Image: illustration

COVID19: Burkina-Faso water shortage

“They say we must wash our hands, keep clean, and wash our clothes to prevent us catching the disease. We’d really like to, but if there’s no water it’s really complicated,” said the 37-year-old mother-of-three at her home in the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou, where houses are not connected to the power or water grid.

Nowadays she scolds her children when they wash with too much water. It has become a precious resource since Burkina Faso’s coronavirus curfew stopped those in poor areas from accessing communal fountains that only flow at night in the dry season.

As a result, many families ration water and jostle in line to fill empty jerry-cans from privately-owned water towers during the day even as the Burkinabe authorities urge them to take extra precautions and avoid crowds to curb the fastest rate of coronavirus infection in West Africa.

The epidemic has so far infected over 440 people in Burkina Faso, including six government ministers, and killed 24. The country, one of the region’s poorest, was already grappling with a deadly insurgency before the coronavirus struck, with 840,000 people displaced in the last 16 months by conflict and drought.

Image:illustration

Mali: kidnapped couple released

A Canadian woman and Italian man kidnapped in Burkina Faso in December 2018 have been released to the United Nations’ MINUSIMA peacekeeping mission in neighbouring Mali and appear to be in good health, a mission spokesman said on March 14.

Edith Blais and Luca Tacchetto went missing while travelling through Burkina Faso, a country where jihadist groups have affiliations to al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

UN mission spokesman Olivier Salgado wrote on his Twitter microblog that Blais and Tacchetto were received by peacekeepers on March 13 evening and were handed over to Malian authorities later on 14.

Burkina-Faso mourns victims of jihad

Thirty-five civilians, including 31 women, were killed on Tuesday in a jihadist attack in Arbinda, in the north of Burkina Faso, one of the deadliest tolls in the history of this Sahel country, which declared 48 hours of national mourning. Four soldiers and three gendarmes also perished, and “80 terrorists” and seven members of security forces were killed, according to the president and the staff of the Burkinabè armies, who had announced the attack earlier in a statement.

It is the Burkinabè president Roch Kaboré in person, who has often been criticized for his lack of grip in the face of terrorist groups, who announced on Twitter the macabre record of this “barbaric attack”.
    
He praised the “commitment and bravery” of the Defense and Security Forces, which “repelled the attack on the Arbinda detachment”.

On December 25 morning hours, “a significant number of terrorists attacked simultaneously the military detachment and the civilian populations of Arbinda”, in the province of Soum, according to the general staff of the armies. The attack, of “rare intensity”, lasted “several hours”.

President Roch Marc Kabore declared two days of national mourning in the west African country in response to the attack.

After several hours, troops repelled jihadists and seized a large number of weapons and motorbikes, the army said in a statement.

“As they fled, in a cowardly way the terrorists killed 35 civilians of whom 31 were women,” the government said in separate statement. It said 80 militants and seven members of the security forces were killed in the earlier fighting.

The incident followed an attack on a mining convoy in November killed nearly 40 people – victims of an Islamist insurgency that has ignited ethnic tensions and rendered large parts of the country ungovernable this year.

EU condolences to Burkina Faso

Wednesday, November 6, 2019, a terrorist attack caused the death of 37 people and 60 wounded in Burkina Faso.

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“The European Union expresses its condolences to the families of the victims and its solidarity with the Burkinabè people, now almost daily bereaved by attacks on civilians, the defense and security forces, but also the symbols of the authority of the State, as evidenced by the murder of the Mayor of the commune of Djibo and his companions on November 3rd.

“These attacks fuel a spiral of violence that causes large population displacement, undermines national cohesion and hampers development. The European Union renews its support for the Government of Burkina Faso, which currently holds the presidency of G5 Sahel. The European Union, together with its Member States, remains more than ever committed to the Burkinabe authorities and people, as well as to all the countries of the region, to respond in a coordinated manner to the current challenges of security, stability and development in the region. Sahel.”

https://twitter.com/un_news_centre/status/1192563363626311685?s=21

Semafo, the Canadian gold mining company said in an earlier statement that the attack on a convoy of five buses with a military escort took place on the road to its Boungou mine in the eastern region of Est, about 40km (25 miles) from Boungou.

Security situation in Burkina Faso

Over the past months, we have seen a continued and dramatic deterioration of the security situation in Burkina Faso. I would like to start by expressing our solidarity with the people of Burkina. More than 200 people were killed so far in 2019, including 60 victims in the last month” said Tytti TUPPURAINEN (pictured), Finnish Presidency, in the speech on behalf of High Representative Federica Mogherini at the European Parliament September Strasbourg plenary debate on the security situation in Burkina Faso. (16/09/2019).

“This insecurity climate puts more pressure on already overstretched social servicesThe number of internally displaced persons is now reaching 300,000 people, posing a serious challenge to the delivery of food, health or sanitation services, but also in terms of social cohesion.

The jihadist groups are now targeting both security forces and civilians, with a clear strategy to foster local antagonisms and create a circle of vengeance between different communities. They are trying to incite a war of religion, in a country that has a long history of peaceful coexistence between faiths and communities.

“The European Union is today closer than ever to the people of Burkina Faso. The country is currently at the heart of our action in the Sahel. In the last seven years we have mobilised more than one billion euros for development programs in Burkina.

“High Representative [of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica] Mogherini was in Ouagadougou over the summer, on the occasion of the fifth annual Ministerial meeting between the EU and the G5 Sahel. During the meeting, she announced an extra €138 million in support the Joint military force of the G5 Sahel, which has an important role in fighting terrorism and organised crime across the region.

“Our military and civilian missions in the Sahel are also working more and more across the region, alongside with French operation Barkhane.

“Coordination between security and development policies is one of the essential challenges, and this was one of the main messages that the High Representative [Federica Mogherini] delivered during her visit.

“We are glad that the G5 countries have committed to adopting an Integrated Strategic Framework, precisely to synchronise their efforts on security and on development and to identify priority regions for their action.

“The government of Burkina has also extended the emergency plan for the Sahel to its eastern regions, which is a positive development.

During her visit Ms Mogherini called for urgent progress on security sector reform. The fight against terrorism can only bear fruit if security forces respect the rule of law and human rights. This is the only way to build trust between State authorities and all sectors of the population.

“The recent national dialogue is an important building block for national cohesion. It is crucial that all ethnic communities in Burkina feel that they are part of a common national family. As the terrorist foster hatred and inter-ethnic tensions, the State should push in the opposite direction and invest in a shared sense of belonging for all its citizens.

“Security is vital, but it is not the only answer to the challenges that the country is facing. Linking political, security and development issues will be more and more essential. Let me just mention that, during her trip to Burkina, the High Representative also visited an EU-funded school – because education is the foundation of any country’s strength.

“International coordination is also crucial, and the EU is willing to engage even more with the whole region. This is the reason why we took the opportunity of the ECOWAS extraordinary summit on terrorism in Ouagadougou last Saturday to discuss with countries of the wider region how they can contribute more to contrast terrorism and how we can coordinate our respective actions.

“Since 2015, a peaceful country like Burkina Faso has had to face unprecedented violence. We Europeans have stepped up our support to stop this escalation, to stabilise a crucial region for our own security, and to help the people of the Sahel take their future into their hands. We will continue to be a strong partner for Burkina and for its people”

(Link to the concluding remarks https://europa.eu/!Tp64DB)

 

IS claims Burkina Faso deadly attack

The Islamic State affiliated group has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on Burkinabé  military leaving 24 dead. FRANCE 24 TV Channel expert Wassim Nasr says the claim is credible and that the attack shows how IS group has expanded its reach in northern Burkina Faso. (Image: illustration).

The August 20 attack on a military post in the north-eastern village of Koutougou killed 24 soldiers. By claiming responsibility for this attack, IS group has demonstrated its capacity to strike in areas where al Qaeda tends to be active.

Burkina Faso’s military said 24 soldiers were killed and seven others injured on August 19 in a “major attack by armed terrorist groups” in the Koutougou department of Soum province in the northern Sahel bordering Mali.

Tajani reiterates call for Africa Marshall Plan

Italian Member of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani warned about growing inequalities threatening the economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa. The economic situation in many African countries has aggravated recently, impacting the security situation, gradually eroding social cohesion. The growing inequality leads to instability,  Tajani said. He underlined that the security situation in the Sahel can not be resolved without substantial improvement of the living conditions of populations.

As a president of the European Parliament Tajani has been a strong proponent of the large-scale European investments in Africa – Marshall Plan for “strong engagement against climate change, against poverty, against terrorism, against the war between African countries and for growth”.

During September Plenary in Strasbourg (16-19/9) MEPs debated statements made by Tytti Tuppurainen (President-in-Office of the Council), on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on recent developments in the political situation in Burkina Faso, Colombia and Kashmir.

This month Burkina Faso and G5 Sahel have secured support of the European Union (EU), Berlin and Paris in fighting terrorism. The cross-border joint force of the G5 Sahel was officially launched on 2 July 2017 in Bamako by the Presidents of the five Sahel States exposed to the terrorist threat (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger).

 

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