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Country Profile

National Monument of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, the fourth largest gold producer in the world, is known for its multicultural coexistence.  Years of under investment, development and governance deficit has left behind a weak infrastructure and vulnerabilities for insecurity. Following full independence in 1960 from France, the country endured 4 coups from 1966 to 1987. The popular leader Thomas Sankara ruled the country from 1982 until he was killed in 1987 in a coup d’etat. 63% of the country’s population practices Islam, 22% practice Christianity and the rest practice Traditional African religion.

Following the first terrorist attack in the capital Ouagadougou on the Splendid Hotel in 2016, the country has continued to suffer a perilous extremist violence in the North of the country. In June 2021, gunmen killed at least 100 people in Solhan village in northern Burkina Faso near the Niger border. 

Burkina Faso is experiencing escalating domestic strife causing security forces to focus more on suppressing the Islamist insurgency, which is undermining efforts to maintain law and order.  Burkina Faso registered the highest death toll of any nation in 2022, which was the first time the nation had a death toll of more than 1,000 people majority of whom were civilians. The most well-known extremist organization in Burkina Faso is still Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM). JNIM continues to use armed assault, and 80 percent of their victims are military officers. The group claimed credit for more terror attacks than any other organization in Burkina Faso in 2022, but 88% of attacks and 87% of death rate were attributed to unidentified jihadists.

Burkina Faso’s decline in the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) is consistent with its performance in the 2022 Global Peace Index (GPI); the country dropped 12 places to 146, the third-highest decline in the world’s peacefulness. Terrorism is becoming a bigger threat for Burkina Faso, particularly from organizations like Ansarul Islam, the Islamic State of the Greater Sahara (ISGS), and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). These organizations have carried out numerous attacks on civilians, law enforcement officers, and governmental entities. According to the World Risk Poll, 30% of respondents in Burkina Faso chose war and terrorism as the biggest danger to their everyday safety, making it one of the countries most concerned by these issues.

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