Burkina Faso Imposes Curfews to Help Fight Jihadis

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO — Burkina Faso has put the North and parts of the Center East region under curfew to aid the fight against jihadis, according to official documents seen Sunday by AFP.

The long-running insurgency in the impoverished Sahel nation has left thousands of civilians, police and soldiers dead and forced more than two million people to flee their homes.

“In the framework of the fight against terrorism, a curfew is established from 22:00 to 05:00 across all the regional territory from Friday March 3 to Friday 31 March,” said a note from the secretary-general of the governorate for the North, Kouilga Albert Zongo.

The curfews ban the movement overnight of people and the use of two and four-wheeled vehicles.

Zongo said the curfew would help the army in the region bordering Mali, from where the insurgency swept in back in 2015.

A curfew was also set up for March over Koulpelogo province, under an administrative communique from the high commission in the area close to Ghana and Togo, as well as the central-northern Bam region.

In mid-February, an overnight curfew set up in 2019 in the East region was extended for three months to May 21.

Jihadi assaults have increased this year, leaving dozens of civilians and members of the security forces dead every week.

The army announced a provisional death toll of 51 in a February 17 ambush in the far north for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

It was the deadliest attack in Burkina since army captain Ibrahim Traore seized power in a coup late last September.

Around 40% of the nation’s territory lies outside government control.

Anger within the Burkinabe military at failures to roll back the insurgency led to two coups last year.

Adding to the regional instability was the setting ablaze at the weekend of a police border post on the Niger side of the border.

Local sources reported Sunday that unidentified “heavily armed men” on motorbikes attacked the station Saturday at Makalondi, several kilometers behind the Burkinabe border, with police saying one civilian suffered gunshot wounds.

A local official told AFP there had been substantial material damage.

The station had previously been targeted in December 2021 in an attack by presumed jihadis which left six people dead.

Makalondi is in the tri-border zone near the frontiers with Burkina Faso and Mali and prone to attacks from armed jihadi groups — notably the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS).

Source: Voice of America