Burkina Faso: Insecurity in Sahel region (24 Mar 2017)
Northern Burkina Faso has seen a rapid deterioration of the security situation since January 2017. Various attacks have been carried out in the area ranging from targeted killings, assassination attempts, village and school incursions to complex attacks against army or police position. The Ansarul Islam group, which has links to the Ansar Dine movement in Mali, is suspected to be behind most of the recent attacks. The increase in threats and attacks has caused fear across the region and led to the closure of over 600 schools in Oudalan and Soum provinces. Insecurity is also impacting access to other social services such as health, food security and protection.
Ansarul Islam is a new armed group, first known in December 2016 when it claimed responsibility for the attack of Nassoumbou military base in Burkina Faso, which resulted in 12 soldiers killed. Since then, it has claimed responsibility or being suspected for most of the recent attacks in the region. Ibrahim Malam Dicko is allegedly the leader. He first joined the Macina Liberation Front, an armed group close to Ansar Dine based in Mali, and in 2016 established his militia around Djibo in Burkina Faso and Douna and Selba in Mali.
The aim of this group seems to re-establish a Fulani kingdom in the Sahel region.