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Written by Dr. Barak Ben-Zur and Gabriel Toole
Terrorism in Burkina Faso first appeared on a large scale after the collapse of the Compaoré regime and the dissolution of the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP). Analysis of attacks in Burkina Faso from 2015 to 2019 shows that attacks have steadily increased in frequency, lethality, and sophistication. In 2019, the conflict in Burkina Faso accelerated at an unprecedented rate, with fatalities increasing by over 600%. Additionally, there was a drastic shift away from military targets and towards civilian targets. Attacks in Burkina Faso are now perpetrated by local and regional Jihadist organizations, self-defense groups, criminal organizations, and rouge military units. Efforts by local, regional, and international forces to curb the rising violence have largely failed. The weakness of the Burkinabé security response is, in part, due to the lack of a strong intelligence apparatus. In order to rectify this, Burkina Faso should focus on building a strong preventative intelligence network that extends to rural communities and focuses on small scale counter-terrorism operations.