Burkina Faso-Security

Living dangerously: Burkina Faso’s new normal

APA-Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)

Since 2016, the people of Burkina Faso have woken up to a new reality, a deadly one that is the new normal in their daily lives.

Days ago four gendarmes lost their lives in an attack on the Barani gendarmerie station in Kossi province, Boucle du Mouhoun region (northwestern Burkina Faso).

The raid which lasted for an hour was by unidentified gunmen whose motivation for the mayhem remains unknown.

According to this source, the attack began in the early morning of Thursday, March 28, 2019, around 5 hours 30 minutes and lasted about an hour.

In addition to the four gendarmes killed, the gendarmerie station and a vehicle were set on fire by the attackers.

This latest attack fits into a regular pattern of attacks by marauding armed militias that have suddenly become rife in Burkina Faso, a country that was once one of the most stable in the region.

While it is still unclear whether the raid on the Barani gendarmerie station is the handiwork of terrorists attack, Burkinabe citizens have watched with trepidation as terrorism hit closer to home in recent years.

 Since 2016, the land of upright men has witnessed terrorist attacks in its capital every year.

There were deadly attacks in 2016, 2017 and 2018, 2019, leaing scores of civilians dead and prompting the government of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to announce recently that it was giving the utmost priority to ending insecurity and rolling back what it called an erosion of social cohesion.

Since 2016, the situation has deteriorated so rapidly that successive western governments have issued travel advices, warnings against travelling to the northern half of Burkina Faso rocked by instability thanks to armed groups roaming the area.   

The country started anew after long term ruler Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising in 2014 but exactly a year later the elite Regiment of Presidential Security (RSP) seized power, arresting the country's president and prime minister, and announced the National Council for Democracy to run the country.

Although, coup leader, Gilbert Diendéré had apologized, promised to restore civilian rule and released the prime minister and interim president Burkina Faso seemed firmly set on the precipice.

Five years after President Kabore won an election with 53.5 percent of the vote, his government has struggled to maintain a firm grip on the country.

The unrest next door has had a domino effect in Burkina Faso which also has a sizeable Tuareg population, waging a rebellion in Mali.

In February President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré rang some changes to the military hierarchy with an eye on tackling the insecurity in some parts of the country.

However, the attacks of the last few weeks suggest the difficulty Kabore faces to restore Burkina Faso’s past reputation as a stable country.


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