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Burkina Amps Army Ranks

FILE: Soldiers guard positions near the Naaba Koom military base in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Taken Sept. 29, 2015.

Burkina Faso announced Thursday a recruitment drive for 5,000 soldiers to serve in the army for at least five years to aid the country in its fight against jihadists.

"An exceptional recruitment of 5,000 non-commissioned soldiers for the national armed forces, to serve for at least five years, in their military region of recruitment, will take place throughout the national territory," Defense Minister Colonel Major Kassoum Coulibaly stated.

The recruitment of young male soldiers will extend from February 28 to March 7, and those joining must have been born between January 1, 1988, and December 31, 2003, the minister said.

Of Burkina Faso's 13 regions, violence hotspots will have higher quotas for recruitment - including the western Boucle du Mouhoun region and the Sahel in the north.

This is the third time in less than a year that the Burkinabe army has organized such a drive. In April 2022, 3,000 soldiers were recruited, with the process launched again in October.

In seven years, more than 1,000 civilians and soldiers have been killed, according to NGOs, and some two million people internally displaced.

Captain Ibrahim Traore, the country's transitional president who staged the most recent coup on September 30, has set a goal of recapturing 40 percent of Burkina Faso's territory, which is controlled by jihadists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.