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Burkina Faso: Series of jihadist attacks for Xmas

ISIL is not dead, it just moved to Africa

Thursday 26 December 2019, by siawi3

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-50908880

Burkina Faso: Many women killed in suspected jihadist attack

25 December 2019

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Security forces in Burkina Faso have been battling militants for years

Suspected Islamist militants have killed 35 civilians, 31 of them women, in an attack on a military base and a town in Burkina Faso, officials say.

They say seven soldiers and 80 militants were also killed as the army repelled Tuesday’s attack in Arbinda, in northern Soum province.

President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré declared two days of national mourning.

Jihadist groups have stepped up attacks in Burkina Faso and other West African countries, in recent years.

The violence has continued despite Western efforts to help regional governments combat the insurgents. In November, 13 French troops died in a helicopter collision during an operation in southern Mali, near the border with Burkina Faso.

Last weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron highlighted the fight against militants in the Sahel region during a visit to Niger.

“The coming weeks are absolutely decisive for our fight against terrorism,” he said.

Is France losing the battle against jihadists in Africa?
What’s behind Burkina Faso attacks?

Tuesday’s attack was carried out by dozens of fighters on motorbikes and lasted several hours. No group has so far said it was behind it, but groups allied to al-Qaeda or Islamic State are active in the region.

“This barbaric attack resulted in the deaths of 35 civilian victims, most of them women,” President Kaboré said in a statement. He also praised the “heroic action of our soldiers” who battled the assailants.

Christmas Day in a Christian-Muslim household

Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed after gunmen opened fire inside a church in the east of the country.

Burkina Faso, a predominantly Muslim country, was once relatively stable but has descended into serious unrest since 2015. About 700 people have been killed and 560,000 displaced.

The conflict spread across the border from neighbouring Mali, where Islamist militants took over the north of the country in 2012 before French troops pushed them out.

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Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/mourning-burkina-faso-attack-kills-dozens-191225001927810.html

Africa

Burkina Faso mourns dozens of victims after double attack

At least 35 civilians, mostly women, killed alongside seven soldiers and at least 80 armed fighters in Soum province.

25 Dec 2019

Burkina Faso mourns dozens of victims after double attack
Burkina Faso has been a regular target of attacks, which have left hundreds dead since the start of 2015 [File: Michele Cattani/AFP]
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An attack in Burkina Faso has killed 35 civilians, almost all of them women, in one of the deadliest assaults to hit the West African country in nearly five years of violence.

Seven soldiers and 80 armed fighters were also killed in Tuesday’s double attack on a military base and Arbinda town in Soum province, in the country’s north, according to the military.

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ISIL is not dead, it just moved to Africa
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At least 14 killed in attack on Burkina Faso church

Burkina Faso, bordering Mali and Niger, has seen regular attacks - hundreds have been killed since the start of 2015 when violence began to spread across the Sahel region.

“A large group of terrorists simultaneously attacked the military base and the civilian population in Arbinda,” the army chief of staff said in a statement.

“The heroic action of our soldiers has made it possible to neutralise 80 terrorists,” President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said. “This barbaric attack resulted in the death of 35 civilians, most of them women.”

Remis Dandjinou, communications minister and government spokesman, later said 31 of the civilian victims were women.

“People, women, for the most part, were getting water and got murdered in cold blood by the terrorists while they were retreating. We must show compassion with the population, that is why all flags will fly at half-mast for two days and all Christmas celebrations are cancelled.”

Islam is the dominant religion in Burkina Faso, a country of about 20 million people, but there is a sizeable Christian minority of about 20 percent.

The president has declared 48 hours of national mourning.

The morning raid was carried out by dozens of fighters on motorbikes and lasted several hours before troops, backed by the air force, drove the attackers back, the army said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but previous violence in Burkina Faso has been blamed on fighters linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) groups.

“This is the worst attack ever, as far as I know, in Burkina Faso, which had its first terrorism attack only in 2015,” said William Lawrence, visiting professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School. “Both their frequency and lethality have been increasing, but this is much much worse.”This is a group led by someone from Burkina Faso, who’s recruiting fighters from Burkina Faso, even though they launch attacks from Mali. And while they are trying to sow chaos and they are under pressure from the French, their main goal is to liberate this area and establish an Islamic state, not unlike what we saw in north Mali in 2012."
560,000 internally displaced

Leaders of the G5 Sahel nations held summit talks in Niger earlier this month, calling for closer cooperation and international support against attacks.

Violence has spread across the Sahel, especially Burkina Faso and Niger, since 2012 when fighters revolted in northern Mali.

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47:30

The Dancer Thieves: A Second Chance for Prisoners in Burkina Faso

The Sahel region lies to the south of the Sahara Desert and stretches across the breadth of the African continent.

The G5 group is made up of Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, whose impoverished armies have the support of French forces as well as the United Nations in Mali.

In Burkina Faso, more than 700 people have been killed since 2015 and about 560,000 are currently internally displaced, according to the UN.

Attacks usually strike the north and east of the country, though the capital Ouagadougou has been targeted three times.

Prior to Tuesday’s attack, Burkina security forces said they had killed about 100 fighters in several operations since November.

In November, an ambush on a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company killed 37 people.

Attacks have intensified this year as the under-equipped, poorly trained Burkina Faso army struggles to contain the violence.

“They (fighters) are going to keep going... with what the French are doing, and other security forces in the region,” said Lawrence. “They will keep attacking and continue to recruit people because the security forces in Burkina have themselves been committing some atrocities.”Populations are on the run now and they do not know who to trust."

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Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/deadly-attack-burkina-faso-global-condemnation-grows-191226051341079.html

Second deadly attack in Burkina Faso as global condemnation grows

At least 11 soldiers killed day after 35 civilians, mostly women, died during assault that sent country into mourning.

26.12.19 - 11 hours ago

Photo: A total of 35 civilians and 7 soldiers were killed after an attack and exchanges of gunfire in in the north of the country early Tuesday [Michele Cattani/AFP]

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Burkina Faso mourns dozens of victims after double attack
yesterday
What’s behind the upsurge in violence in the Sahel?
last week
Mystery behind Burkina Faso violence hampering response to crisis
last week
At least 14 killed in attack on Burkina Faso church
3 weeks ago

At least 11 soldiers were killed in Burkina Faso on Wednesday as Burkinabes were mourning dozens of victims who had died in double attacks targeting the country’s north a day earlier.

There was worldwide condemnation after Tuesday’s attacks, the worst assault in the country for five years, in which at least 35 civilians, mostly women, and seven soldiers were killed in Arbinda town and at a military base in the volatile Soum province. According to the army, 80 assailants also died in gunfire exchanges.

More:
ISIL is not dead, it just moved to Africa
France announces troop deployment to Burkina Faso
At least 14 killed in attack on Burkina Faso church

Early on Wednesday, an army patrol near Hallale in the Sahel region - in Soum province as well - was ambushed, according to Radio Omega. As well as the 11 soldiers, at least five fighters were killed in the assault some 60km (37 miles) from the first attacks.

All Christmas celebrations were cancelled in the wake of Tuesday’s attack, as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres offered his “deep condolences” to the victims’ families.

Burkina Faso mourns dozens of victims after double attack (2:12) video here

“The secretary-general conveys the solidarity of the United Nations to the government and people of Burkina Faso,” Guterres’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement, underlining the UN’s continued support for the Sahel region in their efforts against “terrorism and violent extremism.”

In his Christmas message, Pope Francis denounced attacks on Christians in Africa and prayed for victims of conflict, natural disasters and disease on the world’s poorest continent.

The pontiff urged “comfort to those who are persecuted for their religious faith, especially missionaries and members of the faithful who have been kidnapped, and to the victims of attacks by extremist groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.”

Islam is the dominant religion in Burkina Faso, a country of about 20 million people, but there is a sizeable Christian minority of about 20 percent.
War on Terror

Earlier in December, leaders of the G5 Sahel nations called for closer cooperation and international support in the battle against an armed threat that has spread across the vast Sahel region, especially in Burkina Faso and Niger, having started when rebels revolted in northern Mali in 2012.

Michael Amoah, author of The New Pan Africanism: Globalism and the Nation-State in Africa and a fellow at the London School of Economics, told Al Jazeera: “We Sahelian countries have played a major role in the war on terror, particularly in hosting military bases ... for example, Ivory Coast will now be hosting an anti-terror training camp.”As a result, they are receiving a backlash for their contribution," he added.

David Otto, counterterrorism director at Global Risk International, a security management consultancy, told Al Jazeera that many fighters in the region were previously engaged in armed campaigns in the Middle East.
’State of mourning’ in Burkina Faso after attack kills dozens (5:19)

“Most of the African states in the Sahel region, for example, have a lot of foreign fighters who travelled to Iraq and Syria,” he said.

“Now they have come through Libya, and they are exploiting the poverty within the region. They are taking advantage of the lack of coordination between the countries, irrespective of the fact that they have the G5 Sahel.”

Otto added that public trust in some of the affected governments was falling.

“Tactically what the [armed] groups have been doing is to make sure that they keep the military on the offensive. Most of their targets have been military. The cracks in the military are a significant factor.”

In Burkina Faso, more than 700 people have been killed since 2015 and some 560,000 are currently internally displaced, according to the UN.