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Updated Apr 22, 2020

Burkina Faso had managed to avoid the worst consequences of the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel, until it didn’t.


Soldiers of the French Army monitors a rural area during the Barkhane operation in northern Burkina Faso on November 12, 2019.
French soldiers monitor a rural area in northern Burkina Faso as part of Operation Barkhane on November 12, 2019. (AFP)

The West African country is known for its religiously and culturally diverse society, yet it has until recently largely avoided the kind of inter-community violence that Côte d’Ivoire or Mali experienced. Now, it’s become embroiled in one of the world’s deadliest civilian conflicts.

The United Nations estimates that more than 700,000 people have fled their villages in Burkina Faso in the past year due to inter-ethnic violence and jihadist attacks, and that a further 2 million are in need of aid. In March, dozens of semi-nomadic Fulani people were killed in attacks by local Songhai or Mossi for allegedly harboring or being sympathetic to jihadists.


A Burkina Faso soldier patrols at district sheltering Internally Displaced People (IDP) from northern Burkina Faso in Dori, on February 3, 2020. 600 000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) have fled recent attacks in northern Burkina Faso. OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT / AFP
A Burkinabe soldier patrols a district welcoming internally displaced people from northern Burkina Faso in Dori on February 3, 2020. (AFP)

Individual Voices

The New Humanitarian conducted interviews with six Burkinabe individuals—including an imam, an aid worker, and a teacher—to get a sense of what this violence has done to social cohesion in Burkina Faso. Read the full article here.

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