Burkina Faso Roundup: Stories on Insecurity, Campaigning, Security Force Abuses, Displacement, and Mining

AFP has a good article focusing on insecurity and the early stages of the campaigning for November’s presidential elections. I’ve never really paid attention before, but the English and French versions of the article are slightly different; the French version, for example, discusses President Roch Kaboré’s recent, campaign-esque visit to the besieged northern city of Djibo, whereas the English version leaves that bit out.

Ivoirian authorities say that soldiers arrested a Burkinabè national accused of plotting the June 10 attack at Kafolo, Cote d’Ivoire, near the border with Burkina Faso.,

The New York Times published a major article on security force abuses in Burkina Faso, amplifying a theme that has been receiving a lot of coverage recently. One excerpt:

One mostly Mossi vigilante network called the Koglweogo is notorious for a massacre of Fulanis in Yirgou in January 2019, in which the Collective Against Impunity said more than 200 people were killed. There are vigilante units and spies all over the country.

They do not always try to hide their killing.

One such vigilante leader, Moise Kinda unapologetically described how soldiers around Kongoussi, his sleepy hometown, kill people, dumping their bodies at roadsides. He was incredulous at the suggestion that people suspected of collaborating with terrorists should be arrested and prosecuted, rather than summarily killed.

“If they were in prison, we’d have to feed them and give them water, and their friends might come and attack the prison,” he said, reading glasses tucked into his shirt.

In his office in the capital, Simon Compaoré, the president of the ruling party, a former secretary of state and mayor of Ouagadougou, said, “I don’t want to hear these people telling me human rights, human rights.”

He denied that the military and allied vigilantes were targeting the Fulani, and carrying out what activists have called “political extermination.”

Recent displacement figures are available through the International Organization of Migration’s latest (June 23) update for the Central Sahel and Liptako Gourma. Burkina Faso alone is on track to have a million internally displaced people before long.

Finally, at Africa Is A Country, Diana Ayah asks what “local” really means in Burkina Faso’s mining sector:

Direct employment at mine sites…often implies a restricted access for residents of the locality where operations take place. A constant concern and argument of the industry spanning the national headquarters to sites of extraction is that residents of mining-impacted communities would lack the needed capacities and skills to participate in the global working assignments and supply chains of the sector. As a response, mining companies establish different scalar categories of workforce, (“expatriate,” “national,” “local,” and “local-local”) that are—intentionally or not—usually connected to different job categories (“skilled,” “semi-skilled,” and “unskilled”). The different job categories ranging from “skilled expatriate” to “unskilled local” differ significantly in nature, quality, hiring practices and most importantly, wages. While “skilled expatriate” workers are for instance hired through Globe 24-7, a “professional Human resource consulting in the mining industry,” “unskilled labor” is usually recruited though local intermediaries in charge of assuring the “localness” of a candidate.

For analyses of how jihadists have tapped into tensions around mining in Burkina Faso and in the Sahel more broadly, see here and here.

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