Burkina Faso promises 'major reforms' to security after jihadist attacks: minister

Burkina Faso promises 'major reforms' to security after jihadist attacks: minister
Burkina Faso most recently lost 80 people, including 65 civilians, during an attack on a convoy on 18 August.
2 min read
Junior defence minister Aime Barthelemy Simpore made the announcement [OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT/AFP/Getty]

Burkina Faso on Friday said that it would overhaul its security forces to cope with a six-year old jihadist insurgency that has claimed more than 1,400 lives and forced 1.3 million people from their homes.

The government will "review the structural and operational organisation of the national defence and security forces," junior defence minister General Aime Barthelemy Simpore announced at a press conference in the capital Ouagadougou.

"Major reforms" will take place "to reorganise and adapt" forces to take into account threats from terrorism, he said, adding that the overhaul would take place under "the guidance" of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who is also defence minister.

"The immediate step will be to work to protect the public and property," especially helping the country's internally displaced population, he said.

Live Story

Simpore said the changes would focus on information systems, logistics and "living conditions" for the armed forces, but did not give details.

One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso is struggling with an insurgency that swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

Its armed forces are poorly trained and equipped against highly mobile jihadist units linked to Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State group.

The groups are adept at ambushing highway convoys, planting roadside bombs and carrying hit-and-run raids on remote villages.

The latest bloodshed occurred on 18 August, when 80 people - 65 civilians and 15 gendarmes - were killed in an attack on a convoy in northern Burkina.