• Government loses control of southwestern and eastern regions, leading to internal displacement and increased food insecurity

    Latest update: 21/06/2019

    Probability

    Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

    Impact

    Very low Moderate Major

    Internal conflict has increased in the north (Sahel, Nord and Centre-Nord regions) in 2019, with a 5,700% increase in civilian fatalities compared to the first half of 2018 and 123,000 people newly displaced since January. ? Since April, fighting has intensified between Islamist armed groups and different civilian tribes, along with more targeted attacks against Christian communities and schools. Attacks are spreading east and southwest. ? If the intensity and frequency of intercommunal fighting and attacks by Islamic groups continues to escalate in Est, Centre-Est and Hauts Bassins, Sud-Ouest, and Cascades regions, the government risks losing control of these areas, as it did in the north.

    The local population in eastern and southwestern regions has high mistrust in the government due to low development with limited opportunities, and continuous arbitrary arrests and human rights violations by government security forces. ?In counter-terrorism operations, military forces have been killing three times more civilians than jihadists. ? Countrywide, the Burkinabe army morale has declined due to limited training, lack of human and logistical capacity, and high death tolls among government forces in recent months. Rivalry among agencies adds to internal tensions, increasing the risk of another military coup d’état. ? Another regime change, as seen in the past, will prohibit effective measures against the increasing violence.

    Islamic groups including Ansaroul Islam and the Support Group to Islam and Muslims (JNIM) seem more organised, with increased human and financial capacity and alliances with new local militants and criminal networks. As the civilian population’s frustration increases, more people are seeking safety in self-defense militia groups. Islamist armed groups are leveraging intercommunal tensions between pastoralists and farmers, creating resentment and mistrust among communities and increasing the risk of conflict escalation. ?

    IMPACT

    Further loss of governmental control in Burkina Faso’s eastern and southwestern regions will intensify intercommunal conflict, triggering large-scale displacement. As of 15 February, 76,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the southwestern regions of Haut Bassins, Cascades and Sud-Ouest, and 137,000 in the Est and Centre Est regions. ?

    An escalation of violence in these areas, home to respectively 3.5 million and 4.6 million people, will drastically increase the number of people relying on aid. Humanitarian response capacity is already underequipped to serve all people in need, including 170,000 IDPs countrywide? A drastic decline in safety and security in Burkina Faso will worsen humanitarian access and aid delivery. As access to fields ,markets and other livelihood activities decline, the number of people depending on food assistance during the lean season (June to mid-September) is likely to surpass estimations of 676,000 people in IPC-3 (Crisis) and IPC- 4 (Emergency) by mid-September. At least some of the 38,000 people projected to face Crisis in the Est and Centre-Est region are likely to fall into Emergency if violence spreads. ?

    Concerns that the Islamist armed groups’ influence will cross borders and affect neighbouring Ghana, Togo, and Benin are high. Some 200 suspected extremists, 95 of whom were Togolese, were arrested in mid-May. ? When the government loses control of parts of Burkina Faso, joint government military operations from Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Ghana become less feasible due to lesser influence in the area, increasing the risk of violence spreading.

    This risk was identified in the June Quarterly Risk Report

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