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Militant Insurgency Worsening Burkina Faso Security - Analyst

FILE - Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, President of Burkina Faso, arrives to his inauguration ceremony as President of Transition, in Ouagadougou, on March 2, 2022.

Experts say militant insurgency is fueling violence in Burkina Faso and Monday’s deadly attack which took 35 lives is part of a string of attacks on the West African country. For more on Burkina Faso’s security, VOA’s Carol Van Dam spoke with Dr. Daniel Eizenga, an expert on Africa’s Sahel region.

The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

VOA: Would you argue violence has increased in Burkina Faso because of militant insurgency?

Eizenga: Violence has ramped up in the region over the last six years. We have seen these militant groups attacking populated urban areas and over the last two years these attacks have accelerated. The security situation has deteriorated so much that nearly two million people out of Burkina Faso's population of 20 million have been displaced from their homes.

VOA: Are these militant groups only attacking Burkina Faso?

Eizenga: These militant groups are attacking several West African countries, among them are neighbors to Burkina Faso such as Mali and Niger. The three nations have been the epicenter of militant insurgency over the past three to five years.

VOA: Who are the main targets of these attacks?

Eizenga: We have witnessed instances where civilians are attacked by the militant groups. This usually happens when local civilian led militias emerge to defend their communities from these militant insurgent groups, but this at times has led to extortion.

VOA: Burkina Faso's military rulers say they are prioritizing the fight against militant insurgency. How successful have they been?

Eizenga: We have seen them add policies such as designating "special military zones", where all civilians were evacuated and urged to avoid returning or risk being considered a hostile enemy, however unfortunately this has produced a negative result.

Q & A – Burkina Faso Security Worsening Amid Increased Insurgency Attacks
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