Burkina Faso: junta pursues 'total war'

Burkina Faso's humanitarian and security challenges are worsening as the country's junta-led government pursues an aggressive military campaign against jihadist armed groups, which have extended their control to around 40% of the national territory. The country has faced jihadist attacks since 2015, but fatalities and humanitarian needs have hit record highs since army Captain Ibrahim Traoré seized power from a different junta last year, and then began a "total war" against the insurgents.

Humanitarian workers say their access has also shrunk as the military steers aid agencies away from operating in jihadist-controlled areas, and as the insurgents grow increasingly violent due to the pressures they are facing.

Over two million people have been displaced, the vast majority since 2019, and 4.7 million out of a 22 million population require assistance, an increase of more than 1 million compared to last year. The situation is especially critical in dozens of towns that jihadists are blockading as part of their military strategy.

— Maria Gerth-Niculescu for The New Humanitarian, Nov. 28 (excerpt)