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Country analysis

Burkina Faso


The presence and activities of Islamist armed groups are increasingly affecting Boucle du Mouhoun, Centre-Nord, Est, Nord, and Sahel regions of Burkina Faso, although the influence of such groups can also be seen in other regions of the country. Burkina Faso has become the epicentre of armed group violence in the Central Sahel region since 2019. Non-state armed groups control nearly 40% of the territory of Burkina Faso, posing significant challenges for humanitarian operations.

Several non-state armed groups are active in the country, including Ansarul Islam, the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. As at January 2024, rising violence since 2019 had displaced over two million people. The country also hosts nearly 39,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from Mali.

Non-state armed group blockades in about 26 cities were restricting the movement of around 800,000 people as at 22 January 2024, limiting their access to basic services.

Food insecurity continues to rise because of several factors, including insecurity, declines in agricultural production in some provinces, inflation, and rising food prices.

Burkina Faso is also currently experiencing a political crisis, with two military coups occurring in 2022 alone.

(UNICEF 07/02/2024, GTS 22/01/2024, UNHCR 31/01/2024, OCHA 08/12/2023)

The presence and activities of Islamist armed groups are increasingly affecting Boucle du Mouhoun, Centre-Nord, Est, Nord, and Sahel regions of Burkina Faso, although the influence of such groups can also be seen in other regions of the country. Burkina Faso has become the epicentre of armed group violence in the Central Sahel region since 2019. Non-state armed groups control nearly 40% of the territory of Burkina Faso, posing significant challenges for humanitarian operations.

Several non-state armed groups are active in the country, including Ansarul Islam, the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. As at January 2024, rising violence since 2019 had displaced over two million people. The country also hosts nearly 39,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from Mali.

Non-state armed group blockades in about 26 cities were restricting the movement of around 800,000 people as at 22 January 2024, limiting their access to basic services.

Food insecurity continues to rise because of several factors, including insecurity, declines in agricultural production in some provinces, inflation, and rising food prices.

Burkina Faso is also currently experiencing a political crisis, with two military coups occurring in 2022 alone.

(UNICEF 07/02/2024, GTS 22/01/2024, UNHCR 31/01/2024, OCHA 08/12/2023)

Latest updates on country situation

28 May 2024

On 22 May 2024, armed groups launched a series of attacks in several localities of Burkina Faso. In Partiaga in Est region, the attacks killed 13 civilians and seven Volontaires pour la Défense de la Patrie (members of an auxiliary force supporting the country’s armed forces) and led to the looting of shops. In Nord region, the attacks hit several villages around the city of Séguénéga, killing about 70 civilians (including a humanitarian worker). People have fled to the city of Séguénéga. These incidents are occurring in a context of humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso, where over two million people are already displaced. (Journal du Niger 24/05/2024, OCHA 27/05/2024)

21 May 2024

On 13 and 16 May 2024, media reports highlighted the killing of civilians by members of the armed forces escorting supply convoys in Burkina Faso. About 150 villagers were killed between Dori and Mansila in Sahel region and 100 between Fada N’gourma and Tankoualou in Est region. The increasing targeting of civilians, humanitarian workers, and supply roads affects the humanitarian space, while the country counts about 6.3 million people in need of assistance. Improvised explosive devices, administrative hurdles, and other access restrictions also hinder the delivery of assistance. (ECHO 21/05/2024, France 24 17/05/2024)

05 March 2024

Following the attacks that on 24–25 February 2024 killed over 170 people in Yatenga province of Burkina Faso, a recent incident targeted the villages of Bibgou and Soualimou (Komondjari province), leading to approximately ten fatalities. In January 2024, such attacks resulted in 440 fatalities. The population in northern and eastern Burkina Faso faces protection risks and internal displacement. (ECHO 27/02/2024, RFI 04/03/2024)

27 February 2024

From 24–25 February 2024, non-state armed groups launched a series of attacks in Est and Nord regions in Burkina Faso. They targeted civilian infrastructure, including places of worship, a market, schools, and several military camps. Reports indicate at least 150 deaths and tens of injuries among civilians and security forces. These attacks against the population have triggered more displacement to urban and peri-urban areas, worsening housing conditions and limiting access to productive activities and markets as well as to basic social and protection services. Burkina Faso counts over 2,062,000 IDPs, with an estimated 983,000 new displacements recorded in 2023. About 40 population centres across seven regions have also been cut off from the rest of the country by blockades, restricting humanitarian access to the people in need. (ECHO 27/02/2024, OCHA 08/12/2023, RFI 26/02/2024)

14 November 2023

On 5 November, at least 70 people , mostly children and elderly people, were killed in an attack on Zaongo village, Centre Nord region. Several houses were damaged or destroyed during the attack by an unknown armed group. As at 31 October 2023, insecurity linked mainly to non-state armed groups has caused the internal displacement of nearly 494,000 people in the Centre Nord region. This region is also affected by high levels of food insecurity. Between October 2023 and January 2024, the number of people in the crisis phase of food insecurity is projected to increase due to the intensification of conflict between military forces and non-state armed groups and movement restrictions due to blockades imposed by armed groups in certain areas. Although the needs resulting from the attack are not yet known, food assistance, shelter and protection services are likely required.

(RFI 14/11/2023, IOM 13/11/2023, FEWS NET 09/11/2023)

09 July 2023

Since the start of July 2023, nearly 20 civilians have been killed in several attacks by non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in Centre-Nord, Est, and Hauts-Bassins regions. On 7 July, NSAGs attacked Kogsablogo village (Centre-Nord) and burnt houses, motorcycles, and the market, forcing residents to flee. The persistent NSAG attacks and their clashes with the Burkinabe army and civilian auxiliary force volunteers continue to drive internal displacement. The Operational Coordination Group of the rapid response reported over 35,000 new registered IDPs in April, more than 66,900 in May, and over 12,700 in June, adding to the more than two million people already displaced. Humanitarian access to some IDPs in conflict-affected areas remains highly constrained because of insecurity linked to NSAG attacks against humanitarian convoys, the encirclement of villages, and the destruction of public services. IDPs need urgent assistance with food, shelter, NFIs, healthcare, and education. (ECHO 07/07/2023, OCHA 12/06/2023, Jeune Afrique 08/07/2023)

current crises
in Burkina Faso


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

BFA002 - Conflict

Last updated 30/06/2024


Drivers

Conflict
Displacement
Violence

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

4.2 Very High

Access constraints

5.0

Analysis products
on Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso: Conflict-induced displacement

06 April 2023

Burkina Faso: Conflict-induced displacement

DOCUMENT / PDF / 409 KB

The security situation in Burkina Faso is deteriorating, with increased activity from armed groups. Conflict and climatic shocks, combined with socioeconomic inequalities, have aggravated the access of affected people to food, water, and essential services. An estimated 4.7 million people are expected to need humanitarian assistance in 2023.

Conflict and violenceDisplacement
Côte d’Ivoire: Displacement from Burkina Faso

15 March 2023

Côte d’Ivoire: Displacement from Burkina Faso

DOCUMENT / PDF / 366 KB

Insecurity and attacks from non-state armed groups in Burkina Faso have reportedly forced entire villages to flee, with many crossing the border into neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire to seek safety. According to the National Security Council of Côte d’Ivoire, as at 2 Feburary, roughly 8,700 people from Burkina Faso had newly sought refuge in the country. 

Displacement

Attached resources

Burkina Faso: Humanitarian overview of Djibo town

19 October 2022

Burkina Faso: Humanitarian overview of Djibo town

DOCUMENT / PDF / 204 KB

Since 17 February 2022, armed groups affiliated with the Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin have surrounded Djibo town in Soum province, located at the border with Mali. The groups have been controlling the access routes to the city, preventing the entry and exit of people and goods. 

Conflict and violence
Scenarios: Humanitarian access in Central Sahel

31 March 2021

Scenarios: Humanitarian access in Central Sahel

DOCUMENT / PDF / 1 MB

Possible developments in humanitarian access in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger during 2021.

Humanitarian access
Central Sahel: Humanitarian access and civil-military coordination

28 January 2021

Central Sahel: Humanitarian access and civil-military coordination

DOCUMENT / PDF / 924 KB

Irregular and intercommunal conflict and sudden-onset disasters have increased humanitarian needs across the triborder region between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. Humanitarian operating spaces have also been restricted.

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