Burkina Faso

  1. Dozens arrested for financing Burkina Faso militants

    BBC World Service

    A Burkina Faso soldier operates an armoured vehicle and weapon
    Image caption: Security forces in Burkina Faso have been battling insurgents for years

    More than 70 people have been arrested in Burkina Faso in connection with money laundering and the funding of armed groups.

    The detainees are accused of being involved with fuel trafficking in areas where jihadist groups are active.

    Investigators said the traffickers work at night, moving hundreds of thousands of litres of fuel across the country.

    Nearly 1.5 million people have been displaced by intensifying Islamist violence in Burkina Faso.

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  2. Log lifting champ gets big ovation in Burkina Faso

    Iron Biby working out outside his home
    Image caption: Iron Biby (pictured) cartwheeled after his historic lift

    A Burkina Faso sportsman who broke the world record for log lifting on Saturday received a raucous welcome at Ouagadougou airport on Monday, according to French radio station RFI.

    Cheick Ahmed al-Hassan Sanou - known as Iron Biby - lifted a 229kg (36st 1lb) log over his head at the Giants Live World Tour Finals in Scotland smashing the previous world record of 228kg.

    A smiling Iron Biby dedicated his trophy to Burkina Faso, and is quoted by RFI as saying his win sends a message of hope.

    “It’s a big deal for me, because since 2018 I’ve been trying to break the world record.”

    RFI reports similar words from the country’s Sports Minister Dominique Nana.

    “The Burkina Faso flag has triumphed.”

  3. IS fails to comment as France declares Sahel chief dead

    Mina al-Lami

    Jihadist media specialist, BBC Monitoring

    The Islamic State group has said it carried out attacks committed up to two months ago in the Sahel - but failed to comment on the reported death of its regional leader there.

    Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi formed Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) in 2015, and on Thursday French President Emmanuel Macron announced his death at the hands of French forces.

    The group and its jihadist rival al-Qaeda are blamed for most attacks in the region, including the targeted killing of French aid workers in 2020.

    The IS group's weekly newspaper, al-Naba, claimed attacks against the army and pro-army "militias" in Niger, against al-Qaeda rivals in Mali and Burkina Faso, and against "spies" in Mali - covering a period between early July and early September.

    It is typical of IS claims from the Sahel to be weeks and even months old.

    In its latest al-Naba report, the group reiterated that such delays were caused by "the security and technical circumstances [affecting] the mujahidin" on the ground.

    A map of the Sahel
    Image caption: The Sahel stretches across Africa south of the Sahara desert - from Senegal in the west to Eritrea in the east
  4. Six die in ambush on Burkina Faso military convoy

    BBC World Service

    Burkina Faso security
    Image caption: Burkina Faso has been battling jihadist militants for years

    An ambush on a Burkina Faso military convoy escorting fuel tankers from a gold mine near the border with Niger has left six officers dead, officials say.

    Seven people were wounded after what the regional government in eastern Burkina Faso said was an attack by suspected jihadists.

    Two years ago 39 people were killed when a convoy of vehicles from the same mine was targeted.

    That incident shut down production for almost a year.

    Since 2015 attacks in the country by groups linked to the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda have killed more than 1,500 people and forced more than a million people from their homes.

  5. Six die after sneaking into Burkina Faso gold mine

    Gold Mining in Burkina Faso, Yatenga Province, Kalsaka Village
    Image caption: Illegal mining is common in Burkina Faso

    Six illegal miners died after sneaking into the old pits of a gold mine in Burkina Faso.

    Seven others were injured after police fired tear gas, survivors say.

    The police said the miners had died because of lack of oxygen in the deep pits and did not comment about the use of tear gas.

    Officials say the mines were vandalised and vehicles torched by local people after the incident.

    Illegal mining is common in Burkina Faso and the government has been urging the public to partner with the authorities in fighting it.

  6. Burkina Faso attack death toll rises to 80

    BBC World Service

    Military patrol in Burkina Faso
    Image caption: Thousands have been killed in jihadist attacks since 2018

    The number of people who died in Wednesday's jihadist attack on a military convoy escorting civilians in northern Burkina Faso has risen to 80, the authorities have said.

    Nearly 60 of the victims were civilians. The others were soldiers and members of a pro-government militia.

    Eighty Islamist militants were also killed in attack near the town of Arbinda, according to the country's information ministry.

    It's the latest attack in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, where militias linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group operate across the borders with Niger and Mali.

    Thousands of civilians have been killed and millions displaced since 2018.

  7. Dozens die as Burkina Faso militants raid convoy

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News

    A military vehicle
    Image caption: Burkina Faso has been battling jihadist militants for years

    At least 47 people, including 30 civilians, have been killed in northern Burkina Faso, in a clash between Islamist militants and government forces.

    At least 19 more people were wounded after the suspected jihadists raided a military convoy escorting civilians on Wednesday, the ministry of communication announced.

    It said 14 soldiers and three volunteers from the Défense de la Patrie militia also died.

    The army said government troops had "neutralised" 58 militants in retaliation and injured many of them without being specific on the numbers.

    Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been targeted by attacks that have resulted in numerous deaths and thousands of internally displaced persons.

    The violence has caused more than 17,000 people to leave the country since the beginning of the year, according to the UN.

  8. Sankara murder trial to begin on 11 October

    Thomas Sankara statue
    Image caption: Thomas Sankara was a hugely popular leader

    The trial of former Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré and 13 co-accused over the 1987 assassination of his predecessor Thomas Sankara will start on 11 October.

    The trial will be conducted in public, military prosecutors in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou said on Tuesday.

    Mr Compaoré was forced into exile in 2014 after he attempted to change the law to extend his rule.

    He currently lives in Ivory Coast and may be tried in absentia.

    A warrant for his arrest was issued in 2015.

    In April, a Burkina Faso military tribunal indicted him for an "attack on state security, complicity in murder and concealment of corpses".

    But he has always denied involvement in Sankara’s assassination.

    Sankara, often called the African Che Guevara, was a hugely popular leader and has become a cult figure.

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  9. Militants jailed in Burkina Faso terror trial

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News, Abidjan

    Two members of an Islamist militant group in Burkina Faso have been convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison, in the first trial of its kind in the country.

    The men were members of Ansar ul Islam, a group formed by popular Islamic preacher Ibrahim Dicko, who reportedly died in 2019.

    The two men - aged 38 and 29 - admitted to charges that they attacked a school in the central region in 2018 and set it on fire because they believed the school's teachings were contrary to Islamic law.

    The court also ordered the them to pay $7,000 (£5,000) in damages.

  10. Burkina Faso begins long-awaited terror trials

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News, Abidjan

    A street scene in Timbuktu
    Image caption: The defendants are also accused of attacking UN peacekeepers and destroying mausoleums in Timbuktu (library photo)

    A court in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, has begun the country's first terrorism trial since 2015.

    The defendants are also accused of having participated in several attacks against the UN mission in Mali (Munisma) and the destruction of mausoleums in the city of Timbuktu.

    Arouna Sinaré and Ousmane Kindo are being prosecuted for "association with terrorist groups, murder, attempted murder, illegal possession of weapons, destruction of property." They both denied the charges against them.

    For years Burkina Faso has been facing militant insurgencies that have caused many casualties and thousands of internally displaced persons.

    On Sunday, 12 Burkinabè soldiers were killed, and three others wounded in an ambush in the north-east of the country, according to an official statement.

  11. Suspected Islamists kill more than 40 in northern Mali

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    A Malian soldier on patrol
    Image caption: Mali has been fighting an Islamist insurgency in the north for over a decade

    Officials in Mali say more than 40 people have been killed by suspected jihadists in the north of the country.

    Militants on motorbikes attacked three villages, killing as many people as they could.

    In neighbouring Burkina Faso at least 12 soldiers were killed in a suspected Islamist attack near the border with Mali.

    Security sources said they believed the attack was in revenge for the killing by the military of two senior jihadist leaders on Saturday.

    Islamist violence is intensifying across the Sahel despite the presence of local, regional and international forces.

  12. Attackers kill 12 soldiers in Burkina Faso

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News

    Burkina Faso soldiers patrol
    Image caption: Burkina Faso's troops are battling an insurgency in the region

    At least 12 soldiers were killed on Sunday in an ambush in north-western Burkina Faso near the border with Mali.

    No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack carried out in the Boucle du Mouhoun region.

    Seven missing soldiers have been found alive, according to the ministry of communication.

    The attackers had targeted a group composed of elements of the military and the gendarmerie, the ministry added.

    The attack occurred in the same region where the Burkinabè army claimed on Saturday to have "neutralised two prominent jihadists" who were being sought.

    It also comes as the first trial of alleged perpetrators of various terrorist attacks opens this Monday.

    Burkina Faso has been the target of terrorist attacks since 2015 which have caused many deaths and left thousands of internally displaced people.

  13. Militants kill 30 in Burkina Faso village attacks

    BBC World Service

    A soldier patrols in Burkina Faso
    Image caption: Security forces in Burkina Faso have been battling militants for years

    Suspected jihadists in Burkina Faso have killed 30 people in the north of the country, officials say.

    Armed men targeted villages near the border with Niger on Wednesday, before opening fire on security forces who responded to the raids.

    Eleven civilians are among the dead.

    Burkina Faso's defence ministry said 10 of the attackers were also killed.

    No group has admitted to being behind the violence, but Islamist militants are active in the area.

  14. Why is 'Africa’s Che Guevara' still so popular?

    Alan Kasujja

    BBC Africa Daily podcast

    Captain Thomas Sankara attends the eighth Summit of Non-Aligned Countries in 1983.
    Image caption: Sankara was killed in the presidential palace in Ouagadougou in 1987

    What is it about Thomas Sankara - dubbed “Africa’s Che Guevara” - that makes him so influential on the continent more than three decades after his death?

    Known for both his charisma and revolutionary politics, he became president of Burkina Faso in 1983 and had an auspicious vision for his country.

    “He was a pan-Africanist who spoke out against neo-colonialism and powerful Western leaders,” says the BBC’s James Copnall. “He had no fear.”

    In 1987, Sankara was killed in the presidential palace in the capital, Ouagadougou.

    For years, his supporters have accused his successor, Blaise Compaoré, of being involved in the murder - an allegation that Mr Compaoré denies.

    And yet, Sankara’s message lived on and after all these years, many young Africans still look up to him.

    “To eliminate corruption, you have to start with yourself,” says Burkinabe rapper Smockey. “Sankara died and he had nothing, only a little house. He had a bike, a guitar, and that’s it.”

    I’ve been looking at Sankara’s enduring appeal for Wednesday’s episode of the Africa Daily podcast.

    Subscribe to the show on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

  15. Burkina Faso army destroys militants' base

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News

    The army patrols in Burkina Faso
    Image caption: Burkina Faso has been facing growing insecurity since 2015

    The army in Burkina Faso says its soldiers destroyed a “terrorist base" and killed dozens of militants in an operation north of the country.

    The offensive in the forests of Toulfé and Tougbrebouli took place during the week of July 12 to 18.

    Three soldiers died and eight others were wounded during the counter-terrorism operation, according to the weekly report on security operations published by the army.

    Armaments, ammunition and camp equipment were recovered.

    In the same week, the national armed forces, in coordination with other forces, launched a search operation in the Kaboré Tambi National Park in the east.

    A hundred patrols were conducted resulting in the dismantling of sites where illegal activities were taking place and suspects arrested, the army said.

    Like neighbouring Mali and Niger, Burkina Faso has been facing growing insecurity since 2015.

  16. Militants in Burkina Faso police attack 'neutralised'

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News, Abidjan

    A security officer in Burkina Faso
    Image caption: Security forces in Burkina Faso have been battling militants for years

    Burkina Faso's defence and security forces say they have neutralised seven members of an extremist group in the Centre-Nord region.

    They have been identified as among those who attacked a national police unit on 21 June.

    The security forces and police say the operation was conducted last week in the locality of Madou.

    The raid was supported by the country's air force aircraft and led to the identification of a school where the armed group had set up its base.

    Weapons, ammunition, equipment, and identification papers belonging to the police officers who were victims of the attack were found at the site.

    A police vehicle, a large quantity of fuel, foodstuffs, medicines, and various other materials were also discovered.

    Pressure has increased on President Roch Kabore - who took the role of defence minister last week in a cabinet reshuffle - to call for a tougher government response to jihadist attacks attributed to groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

    Thousands took to the streets to protest in the capital Ouagadougou on Saturday.

  17. Thousands demand end to Burkina Faso insecurity

    A demonstrator holds a photo of a Brurkina Faso's former President, Blaise Compaoré, during a march called by the opposition to protest against the security situation worsening and asking for a response to jihadist attacks
    Image caption: Opposition supporters accuse the government of failing to do enough to end attacks by militants

    Thousands of people took to the streets of several cities in Burkina Faso over the weekend, including the capital Ouagadougou, to protest against the growing insecurity in the country.

    Opposition politicians called the demonstrations to denounce the government's handling of the crisis.

    More than one million people have been displaced due to the frequent jihadist attacks that are also fuelling inter-communal violence.

    Local journalist Moumini Soubeiga told BBC Newsday that people were tired of the killings - last month 160 people in Solhan were left dead and their bodies dumped in mass graves. It was the worst attack by an armed group in recent years and the UN chief said he was "outraged".

    Soubeiga told the BBC "the security situation is not improving in Burkina Faso".

    The opposition wants a national conference to discuss the humanitarian crisis that has developed because of the killings.

    They also want security forces fighting militants to be supported more by the government as they too have become victims, with 11 officers killed in mid-June, Soubeiga told the BBC.

    The government has so far heeded some of the opposition's demands as President Roch Kaboré dismissed the security and defence minister in a reshuffle last week.

    The president has now appointed himself defence minister in a bid to improve security.

    Opposition parties supporters attend a protest to denounce the government"s handling of the security situation following attacks by Islamist militants that have killed scores in the past weeks In Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
    Image caption: Ouagadougou was one of the cities where a demonstration took place