Update April 2022

From Atrocities Watch Monitor No. 3

April 2022. Read full newsletter here

Burkina Faso continues to experience violence and political tensions in the wake of a military coup that deposed Roch Kabore in January 2022. In early March, Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was named to lead a transitional government following signature of a charter foreseeing the holding of elections in three years’ time.12 71 members of the transitional assembly were sworn in on 22 March, 2021, two months after the military takeover, 21 members appointed by the transitional president and the remainder chosen by the security forces, civil groups, political parties and the country’s 13 regions.13 The coup was, in part, brought about by public frustration with the former government’s inability to deal with the ongoing Islamist insurgency.

Levels of violence have remained relatively constant in the first three months of the year.14 However, militants from the Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) attacked troops in the East and Centre-East regions, killing dozens of soldiers. JNIM set up checkpoints and destroyed facilities associated with the gendarmerie.15 On 20 March, at least 12 soldiers were killed in eastern Burkina Faso by suspected jihadists, the sixth attack of its kind in the country in ten days. On 18 March around 15 youths were kidnapped by armed individuals nearby Nagre. Between 10- 21 of March at least 23 civilians and 25 armed forces were killed.16


Attacks by militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State have killed thousands in Burkina Faso since 2015.17 An estimated 1.8 million people have been displaced, concentrated in the north of the country.18 The coup in January 2022, was sparked in part by government’s inability to fully address this.

International response

Burkina Faso has been suspended from the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union and the United States has suspended $160 million in aid as a result of the coup.19


12 DW, “Burkina Faso approves charter for 3-year transition,” 1 March 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/burkina-faso-approves-charter-for-3-year-transition/a-60954556
13 Africa News, “Burkina Faso: Transition assembly sworn in,” 22 March 2022, https://www.africanews.com/2022/03/23/burkina-faso-transition-assembly-sworn-in/
14 ACLED data.
15 ACLED, “ACLED Regional Overview – Africa (19-25 March 2022),” 31 March 2022, https://reliefweb.int/report/burkina-faso/acled-regional-overview-africa-19-25-march-2022
16 France 24, “At least twelve soldiers killed in Burkina Faso attack, say army sources,” 21 March 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20220321-at-least-twelve-soldiers-killed-in-burkina-faso-attack-say- army-sources
17 David Gormezano, “Burkina Faso: A history of destabilisation by jihadist insurgencies,” France 24, 25 January 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20220125-burkina-faso-a-history-of-destabilisation-by- jihadist-insurgencies
18 UN OCHA, “Burkina Faso: Situation des personnes deplacees internes (PDI),” 31 March 2022, https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/bfa_situation_des_pdis_mars_2022.pdf
19 “Burkina Faso approves three-year transition before elections,” Al Jazeera, 1 March 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/1/three-year-transition-before-elections-approved-in-burkina-faso
20 ACLED data.