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Burkinabe counter-terrorism will need public backing

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Subject

Jihadi threats in Burkina Faso.

Significance

After excessive delays in responding forcefully to jihadi militants, the Burkinabe government is strengthening its military presence in the most vulnerable provinces along the northern border with Mali and Niger. The decision in early 2017 to adopt a more offensive posture was prompted in part by the emergence of Burkina Faso’s first domestic extremist group, Ansarul Islam. However, local communities’ fear of the jihadists and skepticism towards the authorities will make it imperative for the government to win both their confidence and active collaboration.

Impacts

  • The terrorism threat will hasten specialist army training and armaments to operate against small, mobile opponents.
  • Demands for an emergency development programme for the north will gain momentum across the political spectrum.
  • The recent successful hosting of the FESPACO pan-African film festival could prompt a boost in tourism numbers, if attacks are contained.

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