Burkina Faso – October 2017 Update

January 2016 began a string of violence by militant Islamist groups in West Africa that moved beyond the “arc of insecurity” reaching from Mali in the north to the Lake Chad basin in the east. This first attack was carried out by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Mourabitoun group on a hotel and restaurant frequented by foreigners in…

Insecurity in the Liptako-Gourma Region

On 24 January, the leaders Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger met in Niamey under the auspices of the Liptako-Gourma Authority (LGA). The goal of this sub-regional organization is to allow these three countries to coordinate the development of the Liptako-Gourma region (Sahel Standard, 24 January 2017), which includes, in whole or in part, nineteen provinces…

West Africa and Violence Against Civilians

Attacks by militants aligned with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), notably the Al Mourabitoun Battalion, in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Mali have caught international headlines in the past few months due to their high fatality counts and targeting of foreigners. The attack on the Splendid Hotel/Cappuccino Café which killed at least 30 in…

Republic of Congo — November 2015 Update

Over the past year, a number of African leaders have held referendums in an attempt to extend their term limits. Most notably, leaders in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Rwanda, and now the Republic of Congo have set their sights on constitutional amendments that would prolong their powers through presidential office. These efforts have resulted in divergent…

Electoral Violence

In mid-October 2015, Central African Republic (CAR), Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso will each hold elections. As Figure 1 shows, levels of violence during electoral periods are high in Ivory Coast: for example, the general elections in November 2010 resulted in a six-month civil war between militias of former President Laurent Gbagbo and the contested…

Burkina Faso — October 2015 Update

On the 16 September, the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP), an elite unit within the Burkinabé army, staged a coup dissolving the transitional government that had been in power since November 2014, when a wave of popular unrest ended Blaise Compaoré’s 27-year rule. In a televised speech, the RSP announced the creation of a military junta…

Human Rights, Rule of Law, and Political Conflict in Africa

Human rights abuses can range from physical violence to denials of peaceful assembly or freedom of expression. Amnesty International (2015) highlights shortcomings in justice and accountability, where crimes such as gender-based violence go unpunished; this impunity can have further negative ramifications within effected societies (ACLED, 18 February 2015). Irresponsible business practices associated with extractive industries…

Tensions among soldiers in Ivory Coast

Contrary to the recent tensions in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast has experienced a period of relative stability in 2014. With the exception of an outbreak of violence in May 2014, when pro-Gbagbo militia fighters stormed the South-western village of Fetai killing three soldiers and ten civilians (Aboa, 2014), overall conflict levels and…

Anti-Government Protests and Regime Breakdown: Conflict Dynamics in Transitional States

“Authoritarian regimes…breakdown in systematically different ways, and they also affect post-transition outcomes” Geddes (1999: 6) The recent civil disobedience activity in Burkina Faso to oust President Blaise Compaore, following an attempt to extend his 27-year long term (BBC, 30 October 2014) highlights the success of civil society movements in mobilising for regime change. Riots and…