Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso: UNHCR Operational Update, January - February 2022


1 January - 28 February 2022

According to the National Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (CONASUR), 1,814,283 individuals have fled their homes seeking safety as of 28 February 2022. A 4,17% increase compared to January 2022. As of 28 February 2022, Burkina Faso also continued to generously host 25,191 refugees whose majority is located in the Sahel region.

In the framework of the UN Emergency Response Team (UNHCR, WFP, UNCIEF, with the support of OCHA), UNHCR has provided 6,325 families with clothes, 3,637 families with CRI kits and 176 families with shelter in the Cascades, East, North and Sahel regions. UNHCR warmly thanks its UN Partners for the good coordination!

On 28 February, the Protection Cluster shared two notes highlighting the protection risks civilian populations face in Djibo (Sahel region) and Thiou (North region), where latest security incidents proved the need to collectively address the challenges linked to the reduction of humanitarian access and to uphold the protection of civilians.


The security situation continues to be of concern in Burkina Faso. Over the reporting period, armed groups have been carrying out more complex attacks, using direct or indirect and fire, suicide vehicles, pedestrian infiltration, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). State actors and capacities are increasingly being targeted. Armed groups have also systematically destroyed critical telecom infrastructure and water points, isolating entire localities in the Sahel, North, Centre-North, and Boucle du Mouhoun regions. As a result, according to the Ministry of National Education, Literacy and Promotion of National Languages, 3,683 schools had already been closed as of 28 February 2022. This represents 14,71% of Burkina Faso’s overall schooling infrastructure and currently affects 590,327 students as well as 17,309 teachers in eight out of the thirteen regions of the country.

Humanitarian access continues to be hindered, especially since fighting has intensified between National Forces of Defense and Security and armed groups, particularly in the Cascades, Boucle du Mouhoun, North, Sahel, East and Centre-North regions. According to the United Nations Mine Action Service, the month of February 2022 has reportedly been the deadliest since the beginning of the conflict as 36 IED incidents resulting in 78 deaths throughout the country. With the continuous deterioration of the protection environment, civilians will experience more incidents. Throughout the country, an increasing number of incidents involving women brutalized by armed groups have been reported.

By the end of January 2022, political uncertainty added some further uncertainty. On 24 January, the first democratically elected President of Burkina Faso since 1978, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, was overthrown by the Mouvement Patriotique pour la Sauvegarde et la Restauration (MPSR) led by the Lt.-Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. Burkina Faso has subsequently been suspended from the ECOWAS and African Union institutions. Then, the Lt.-Col. Damiba was sworn in as President of Burkina Faso, Head of State, before the Constitutional Council on 16 February 2022. Straight after his investiture, the President created a Transition technical Commission to draft the Charter and propose the agenda of the Transition. Delivered within the prescribed two-week period, these documents were adopted during the night from 28 February to 1 March 2022. As a result, the Transition will last three years and will be presided over by the Lt.-Col. Damiba, who has officially become President of Burkina Faso.