Burkina Faso faces risk of internal displacement due to terrorism
Civil wars and armed conflicts are not the only reason for human groups to leave their homes and migrate to other regions, as terrorist operations have become prime source for this, such as in Burkina Faso, where terrorism has become a major threat to the country and its economy.
Tens of thousands of people in Burkina Faso have been forced to flee their homes in the past six months alone due to violence and terrorist acts carried out by extremist groups.
More than 237,000 people were forcibly displaced from their villages, bringing the number of displaced people in the West African republic to more than 1.3 million, according to the government.
When announcing the numbers, a government spokesman said that the majority of the displaced, or nearly 60 percent, are children, while 23 percent are women.
Government spokesman Ousseni Tamboura said that “237,078 displaced people were registered in the first half of 2021, which raises the number of displaced people from 1,074,993 in December 2020 to 1,312,071 on June 30, 2021.”
Tamboura was speaking after briefing the government on a report on the humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso, which has a population of more than 20 million people, according to United Nations estimates.
According to the National Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (CONASUR), 271 municipalities have been affected by terrorist attacks, mostly in the center, north and east of the country.
Faced with this situation, 30,000 tons of grain have been distributed since March 31, reaching about 848,925 people, including more than 400,000 displaced people and other vulnerable groups, especially victims of natural disasters, according to Tempura.
On July 10, hundreds of women demonstrated in Dori in northern Burkina Faso to protest against the lawlessness and violence that the country is experiencing on an almost daily basis.
The demonstrators carried banners reading “We refuse to die silently”, “End the lawlessness” and “Women of the Sahel are tired of burying their children and husbands.”
The demonstrators marched with brooms in the streets of Dori, the largest city in Burkina Faso’s Sahel Region, in a movement in which a few men participated.
“More than a month after the massacre in the village of Solhan, the security situation in our region is still not reassuring, despite the speeches of officials,” said Amina Sisi, a spokeswoman for the Feminist Association in the Sahel Region, which called for the demonstration.
“We women of the Sahel Region are fed up. We can no longer tolerate and will not accept more of these tragedies and suffering that terribly mark the daily lives of the residents of the Sahel Region in general and women in particular,” she added.
To the chants of support, Sisi stressed that the women of Burkina Faso “want to get rid of renewed mourning and widowhood because of the massacres committed against their husbands and children.”
In June 2021, at least 132 people were killed, according to the government, and 160 according to local sources, in an attack on the village of Solhan, near the Mali-Niger border.
This massacre is considered the deadliest attack since the start of terrorism in the country, which has killed more than 1,500 people and displaced a million people since 2015.
As a result, Burkina Faso’s parliament voted on Friday, June 25, to extend the state of emergency that has been in force since December 2018 in several regions of this country. This extension will last for 12 months after taking effect on July 13 in 14 out of 45 provinces, distributed over six regions that are witnessing increasingly bloody terrorist attacks.
In conjunction with the rise in terrorism in the country, the coordinator of the popular resistance movement in the country, Ali Nana, called on Tuesday, June 22, to take up arms to defend the northern and eastern regions of the country in case the security situation deteriorates.
“If the popular resistance movement sees a deterioration in the security situation in the north or east, we will assume our responsibility by organizing convoys to defend the safety of our people and sacrifice for them with whatever means are at our disposal,” Nana said in a press conference, stressing the importance of the contribution of volunteers to defend the homeland in the fight against terrorism, especially after the armed attack in Solhan.
On June 24, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in an official statement that it strongly condemns the recruitment of children and adolescents and any serious violation of their basic rights.
Hundreds of people in Burkina Faso have died and more than 1.2 million have been displaced, with many forced to live in makeshift camps scattered in the arid regions of the north, east and center, UNICEF said.