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Several thousand people demonstrated on Saturday in several cities of Burkina Faso, including the capital Ouagadougou, to protest against the “worsening” of the security situation and to demand a response to increasingly deadly jihadist attacks.
Thousands of people went out to cry out their anger on Saturday, July 3, in several cities of Burkina Faso, including the capital Ouagadougou, in the face of the government’s inability to stem the increasingly deadly jihadist attacks. The protests come a month after the carnage in Solhan, in the northeast of the country, in which more than 130 people were killed.
“No to growing insecurity”, “No to the abandonment of the populations”, “No to endless attacks”, “Is there still a president in Burkina Faso?”, Chanted the demonstrators in the center of Ouagadougou, waving flags of their country.
This march, to which several civil society organizations had also called, was the first organized by the opposition since the re-election of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in 2020.
“Today, from Dori to Kampti, from Dedougou to Diebougou, from Ouagadougou to Diapaga, the populations demonstrated to protest against the worsening security situation”, declared the leader of the opposition, Eddie Komboïgo, welcoming a “gigantic mobilization across the country despite calls for a boycott by the authorities”.
Demonstrations also took place in Bobo-Dioulasso (west), the country’s second largest city, but also in Ouahigouya, capital of the North region, in Kaya, capital of the Center-North region and in Fada N ‘Gourma, capital of the Eastern region, these last three regions being among the most affected by the jihadists.
President Kaboré had asked the organizers to “suspend” the marches on Saturday. Other events are planned for Sunday in other cities.
“During the first term of President Kaboré (from 2015 to 2020, Editor’s note), there were officially more than 1,300 dead and 1.2 million internally displaced”, recalled Eddie Komboïgo, saying that “it is to be feared that the second term is no worse than the first because, since the beginning of the year, we have had more than 300 dead “.
Burkina Faso has been confronted since 2015 with increasingly frequent and deadly attacks by jihadist formations, including the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (affiliated with Al-Qaeda) and the Islamic State in the Grand Sahara group (EIGS ).
The country experienced, on the night of June 4 to 5, the deadliest jihadist attack since 2015, committed against the village of Solhan (northeast) and having killed 132 to 160 people according to sources.
“In view of the latest macabre developments on the security front, it was time to give a strong signal to the leaders to pull themselves together and measure the gravity of the situation,” said Aristide Ouédraogo, member of civil society.
Asked by phone by AFP, a protester in the commune of Madjoari, in eastern Burkina Faso, said he was walking “so that the many displaced people can return to their places of origin and live peacefully”.
“It’s been more than a year that this commune has been under blockade by armed groups, no one can enter or leave it. Life has become expensive there and we do not see any hope coming from the authorities,” he added. .
Since Solhan’s attack, manifestations of anger have multiplied.
In an attempt to answer it, President Kaboré, re-elected in 2020 on the promise of bringing peace to his country, sacked the ministers of Defense, Chérif Sy, and Security, Ousséni Compaoré on Wednesday. He himself will assume the post of Defense.
According to the Prime Minister, Christophe Dabiré, “the Solhan attack served as a detonator because it made it possible to highlight a certain number of dysfunctions at the level of our defense and security system”. “This is why President Kaboré has taken over the reins of the Ministry of National Defense (…) in order to be able to carry out an internal reorganization of all of our structures in charge of defense and security.”
He wants to believe that this decision will allow the Head of State “to reconnect with the people and to recreate the confidence essential to ensure the safety of people and goods”.