Burkina Faso Attacks Open New Front In France's Anti-Terror Fight – African News Network | Latest African News | Nigerian News | Breaking News
Connect with us

African News

Burkina Faso Attacks Open New Front In France’s Anti-Terror Fight

Published

on

Burkina Faso Attacks Open New Front In France's Anti-Terror Fight

An alarming increase in deadly jihadist attacks has led to expanded French military action in Burkina Faso, a marked shift after years of reticence by the west African nation to call in help from its former colonial master.

Until now France’s 4 500-member Barkhane anti-terror force in West and Central Africa has intervened mainly in Mali, while focussing on training in Burkina Faso and the other nations of the G5 Sahel military alliance – Chad, Mauritania and Niger.

But over the past two weeks, more than 20 members of Burkina Faso’s security forces have been killed in the country’s restless north and east.

After rebels raided a police station in the north last week, officials asked Barkhane’s command for air strikes, which killed around 10 of the attackers as they fled.

It also deployed two attack helicopters to the suspected rebel haven in the heavily forested Pama region last weekend after a Burkinabe soldier was killed by an IED, military sources said.

The new theatre for operations highlight the challenges facing France as it tries to contain the jihadist threat in the region, which has taken a toll on economic growth and helped fuel the wave of migrants fleeing toward Europe.

Paris’s strategy has been based on trying to build up local African forces in the stuttering G5 Sahel alliance, but the growing instability in Burkina now looks likely to draw its troops into more frontline fighting.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly sought to put a positive spin on the prospect of deeper French involvement last week during a visit to Chad.

“A pragmatic and constructive step has been taken,” she said.

 New strain? 

The new front could put further strain on the Barkhane force, whose command was taken over two months ago by General Frederic Blachon.

Yet officials are playing down such risks for now, pointing to the rapid air responses possible from the Barkhane air base in Niger’s capital of Niamey.

“A plan can be adapted,” Blachon said recently, adding that Burkina Faso’s government “will have the same support that we give to others in the G5.”

“We always maintain sufficient intervention capacity to lend support” outside Mali, a senior military officer said in Paris, requesting anonymity to discuss military strategy.

Burkina’s requests for help underline the worsening security situation in the country due to the state of the country’s armed forces and the difficulty in containing numerous armed jihadist groups operating in the region.

Since the 2014 ouster of Burkina leader Blaise Compaore, who used elite forces as his personal guard, the government has been wary of giving the military too big a role in a country scarred by several coup attempts.

But the attacks are now jeopardising President Roch Marc Christian Kabore’s vow to improve security, education, health and drinking water in the country’s Sahel region.

French officials have made no secret of their concerns about the violence, and the risk of contagion to countries further south like Ghana and Ivory Coast.

 Special forces

Paris has for years stationed special forces in the Burkina capital Ouagadougou, who intervened after twin attacks last March on the French embassy and Burkina’s military headquarters which left eight soldiers dead.

That attack was claimed by the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), one of several prowling across the vast desert expanses of the Sahel.

But French forces are still trying to identify the insurgents operating with increasing boldness in the country’s east.

“It appears they are not with Ansarul Islam,” a jihadist group based in the country’s north which has carried out several attacks against the army along the 1 000km border with Mali, a Barkhane intelligence officer said.

“But we don’t yet have enough information about how many there are, or where they’re coming from,” he said.

African News

Al-Shabaab Executes 3 Men In Somalia

Published

on

By

Al-Shabaab Executes 3 Men In Somalia

Somalia’s militant Islamist group al-Shabaab has killed three men execution-style, accusing two of them of working for the army. The third man it killed was an elderly clan leader who helped choose candidates for the 2016 parliamentary elections.

Media linked to al-Shabaab reported the killings took place in front of a crowd in Mubarak village in southern Somalia.

The militants, who are affiliated to al-Qaeda, control much territory in rural areas of Somalia and are fighting to overthrow the un-backed government.

The militants are known for killing suspected informants, including those accused of spying for the U.S. And other foreign intelligence agencies.

Continue Reading

African News

Kenya Drops Plans To Introduce Controversial New School Syllabus

Published

on

By

Kenya Drops Plans To Introduce Controversial New School Syllabus

Kenya’s education minister Amina Mohamed says the government has dropped plans to introduce a controversial new school syllabus at the start of the academic year in January because it is not ready to roll it out.

The syllabus has caused huge debate in Kenya as it makes radical changes, moving away from an exam-focused to a competency-focused system, which the government says will improve the chances of building successful careers.

The minister added the government still needed to train teachers, and the earliest it would be able to roll out the syllabus would be in 2023.

She said it would be a bad idea to roll out something with which the government is not at all comfortable.  The minister said the government also takes parents into consideration.

Continue Reading

African News

Tanzania’s President Signs Agreement For The Construction Of Controversial Hydro-Electric Power Project

Published

on

By

Tanzania's President Signs Agreement For The Construction Of Controversial Hydro-Electric Power Project

Tanzania’s president John Magufuli has signed an agreement for the construction of a controversial hydro-electric power project in one of East Africa’s best-known game reserves.

The power plant on the Rufiji River in the Selous game reserve is to be built by two Egyptian firms at a cost of more than three billion dollars.

The project has been strongly opposed by conservationists who warn it would cause irreversible damage to the wildlife habitat, and impact the lives of about 200,000 people who depend on the environment.

The Selous game reserve is a UNESCO world heritage site and is home to a vast array of wildlife.

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe to ANN News Alert

Be the first to receive the latest news from Africa and around the world.

%d bloggers like this: