CATF Reports Jun. 2, 2016, 4:16pm


Its critical geographic location in the Sahel, at a transit point for militants directed to Nigeria, Mali, and North Africa, exposes Burkina Faso to diverse vulnerabilities, from food insecurity to terrorist attacks by Islamist groups seeking to win new areas of influence in the continent. Until January 2016, when gunmen affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb stormed the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, and left 30 people dead and dozens wounded, Burkina Faso was virtually immune to West African terrorism. Six people suspected of involvement in the January attack were arrested today, hours after three policemen were killed in the Intamgom police station by three or four unidentified attackers who then headed to the Mali border, 5 km away.

Over the past year, AQIM has claimed responsibility for the November 2015 attack in Mali’s capital Bamako and for the March 2016 attacks in Grand-Bassam, in Ivory Coast. Weakened by the growing influence of ISIS in the region, AQIM is striving to reestablish itself as the main jihadi group in the region and to prove that it can “spread its violent campaign to new frontiers.” A deteriorating security situation has triggered international statements of commitment to join forces against greater jihadi threats in the region, especially in light of ISIS’ increasing infiltration in the continent. More terrorist attacks are to be expected as rivalries between terrorist groups – such as the bitter competition between AQIM and ISIS – grow.

 

From News24:

Unidentified gunmen killed three police officers in northern Burkina Faso near the Malian border, a regional official said on Wednesday.

A high-ranking official from Oudalam province said: "Three police officers were killed. The attackers killed them in the police station in Intamgom," a village about 5km from the border.

"There were three or four attackers. They headed back to Mali afterwards. We aren't sure yet, but it looks like a terrorist attack given the modus operandi," he said. […]

The assault was the second to hit a police station near Mali in less than a fortnight.

Two officers were injured on May 17 when gunmen raided a police station in Koutoukou in the neighbouring province of Soum.

Until this year Burkina Faso had avoided the attacks and hostage-taking by jihadist groups which had wracked other Sahel countries since 2008.”

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