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Jihadists will try to provoke new Burkinabe faultlines

Monday, June 24, 2019

Subject

Burkinabe jihadists' tactics.

Significance

Over the past month, jihadist insurgents have begun attacking Christian churches and worshippers. With Burkina Faso enjoying a reputation for religious pluralism and tolerance, this is likely an attempt to push non-Muslims out of the north of the country, while also turning Christians and Muslims against each other. Following earlier successful attempts to provoke community confrontations along ethnic lines, this new jihadist tactic is testing the government’s ability to pursue counterinsurgency measures and preserve social cohesion.

Impacts

  • Influential ethnic and religious leaders will likely begin to take more prominent roles in mediating local conflicts.
  • The authorities’ inability to effectively manage other social unrest could see its popularity weaken before the 2020 polls.
  • Civil society activists will become more vocal in their scrutiny of the armed forces and its human rights record.
  • Following recent high-profile hostage kidnappings, the military is tightening coordination with both Benin and Niger.
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