The head of the military junta has said he aims to recapture 40% of the country’s territory, as the deadly insurgency continues.
Burkina Faso‘s military junta declared Thursday a “general mobilisation” to give the state “all necessary means” to combat a string of jihadist attacks since the start of this year. The goal is to create a “legal framework for all the actions to be taken” against the insurgents, a statement from the presidency said.
Captain Ibrahim Traoré, Burkina Faso’s transitional president who staged the most recent coup on September 30, has set a goal of recapturing 40% of the country’s territory, which is controlled by jihadists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
“Faced with this security situation, the health of the nation depends on a surge of national spirit by all its daughters and sons in order to find a solution,” Defence Minister Colonel Major Kassoum Coulibaly said in a statement. Details of the plan were not disclosed, though a security source told AFP it would include “a state of emergency for the affected territories”.
Authorities also issued an “advisory” that gives the president “the right to requisition people, goods and services and the right to restrain certain civil liberties”, according to another security source. The government had already announced in February a plan to recruit 5,000 additional soldiers to battle the deadly insurgency that has gripped one of the world’s poorest countries since 2015.
Last week, 44 civilians were reported killed by “armed terrorist groups” in two villages in northeastern Burkina Faso, near the Niger border. It was one of the deadliest attacks against civilians since Traoré came to power last September, after 51 soldiers were killed in February in an attack on Deou, in the far north of the country.
On Tuesday, the defence minister launched a call for current and retired military personnel to hand in unused uniforms to help outfit army combattants.
The violence has left more than 10,000 people dead over the past seven years, according to non-governmental aid groups, and displaced two million people from their homes.