May 2023 | Massacre attributed to government soldiers
On 20 April, 147 civilians (including many women and children) were killed in the village of Karma in the north of Burkina Faso. Survivors of the massacre and international human rights organizations have reported that the perpetrators of the atrocity were uniformed members of the Burkinabe military. The military junta condemned the attack and claimed that it could have been carried out by militants who had stolen equipment from the military. A local prosecutor has begun an investigation.
March 2023 | Broadcasts of France24 suspended after Al-Qaeda interview
The military junta governing Burkina Faso announced an immediate suspension of the broadcasts of France24 on 27 March. The government statement claimed that by broadcasting material from a written interview with the leader of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the broadcaster had supported terrorism. This follows the suspension of Radio France Internationale in December. Advocacy groups have characterised the two moves as a slow-moving attack on media freedom in the country.
December 2022 | Junta claims to have foiled an attempted coup d’état
Following several days during which rumours of an attempted coup d’état circulated on social media, Capt. Ibrahim Traore, the leader of the military junta that took power in Burkina Faso’s second coup of 2022 in September, claimed that a coup plot had been foiled. No one was reported to have been arrested. Capt. Traore claimed that he knew who was responsible and would engage them in dialogue.
October 2022 | Second coup d’état in the space of a year, but little violence
On 30 September, Burkina Faso experienced its second coup d’état in the space of eight months. Lt Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba had taken power in a coup in January. He was removed from office in a relatively peaceful coup led by Capt Ibrahim Traore, who cited setbacks in the conflict between the Burkinabe military and Islamist insurgents as a justification for removing Lt Col Damiba. On 21 October, Capt Traore formally took office as transitional president. He is expected to remain in office until after elections that are planned for July 2024. Capt Traore has expressed interest in working with “new partners” in the country’s conflict with jihadist movements, and the leader of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group expressed his support for the coup.