This COI Focus describes the current security situation in Burkina Faso, more particularly during the period from 1 January 2017 to 30 April 2019.
The research was closed on 31 May 2019.
Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been a target of jihadi groups in the Sahel. The presence of these groups and of criminal groups is due to the poor security situation in neighbouring Mali but also to an explosive mix of poverty, insufficient basic public services and a lack of efficiency in the fight against terrorism. These armed groups have exploited frustrations and found relays among the local population to establish themselves and carry out their actions. Three major jihadi entities (Ansarul Islam, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and the Group to Support Islam and Muslims) stand out in the Sahel, but there are many satellite groups on the borderline between jihadism and banditry.
To improve law and order, the Burkinabe forces have opted for a military approach. However, the Burkinabe security apparatus has been disrupted since the fall of Blaise Compaoré in October 2014, after 27 years of rule. Vigilante and self-defence groups made of local actors attempt, sometimes with abusive measures, to remedy the State’s inability to address security problems and to ensure a minimum service in terms of security and justice.
Three international actors are operating in Burkina Faso: the French military contingent (Barkhane), the UN peace mission (MINUSMA) and a common regional force (G5 Sahel). They carry out a number of coordinated operations.
Jihadi groups have executed dozens of civilians (more than 200 according to ACLED) and have been mining roads, abducting people, looting the local population, forcing shops and schools to remain closed and preventing events such as markets and religious celebrations to take place.
Communal tensions are increasing, mostly pitting Peul (often pastoralists and perceived as supporting armed jihadis) against Mossi or Foulsé (often farmers and perceived as supporting the security forces).
Many citizens feel caught between the armed jihadi groups, who accuse them of collaborating with the authorities, and the security forces who accuse them of the opposite. Various sources agree that state representatives or employees in the education sector have been particularly targeted by armed Islamist groups.
The Peul are suspected of harbouring a jihadi agenda. However, HRW reports that all the main ethnic groups present in the Sahel are subject to acts of intimidation by armed Islamist groups. Research carried out by HRW also shows that since 2012, armed jihadi groups have been focussing their recruitment campaigns on the Peul and that most victims of abuse by the security forces are ethnic Peul.
Several attacks have targeted Christians, who have traditionally lived peacefully alongside Muslims in the country.
The terrorist threat was initially limited to the northern Sahel region but gradually reached other regions, particularly in the east. Three large-scale terrorist attacks took place in the capital Ouagadougou in 2016 and 2017. According to ACLED, the security situation has also deteriorated, although to a lesser extent, in the south-west of the country.
For the first time in its history, Burkina Faso has seen movements of internally displaced persons. By the end of April 2019, there were close to 150.000 IDPs, mainly in the north and the east.
According to a UNOCHA estimate, some 1.2 million persons need humanitarian assistance in Burkina Faso in 2019.
The policy implemented by the Commissioner General is based on a thorough analysis of accurate and up-to-date information on the general situation in the country of origin. This information is collated in a professional manner from various, objective sources, including the EASO, the UNHCR, relevant international human rights organisations, non-governmental organisations, professional literature and coverage in the media. When determining policy, the Commissioner General does not only examine the COI Focuses written by Cedoca and published on this website, as these deal with just one aspect of the general situation in the country of origin. The fact that a COI Focus could be out-of-date does not mean that the policy that is being implemented by the Commissioner General is no longer up-to-date.
When assessing an application for asylum, the Commissioner General not only considers the actual situation in the country of origin at the moment of decision-making, he also takes into account the individual situation and personal circumstances of the applicant for international protection. Every asylum application is examined individually. An applicant must comprehensively demonstrate that he has a well-founded fear of persecution or that there is a clear personal risk of serious harm. He cannot, therefore, simply refer back to the general conditions in his country, but must also present concrete, credible and personal facts.
There is no policy paper for this country available on the website.