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Burkina Faso

CURATED OSINT, FOREIGN POLICY, GEOPOLITICAL ANALYSIS, Reports

SANCTIONS LIFTED: ECOWAS EASES RESTRICTIONS ON COUP-AFFECTED COUNTRIES

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), West Africa’s regional bloc, announced on 25th February 2024 during a summit in Abuja, Nigeria that sanctions against Mali and Guinea would be lifted. According to ECOWAS Commission Chief Omar Alieu Touray, sanctions such as the no-fly zone, border closures, and asset freezes would be suspended “with immediate effect” on “humanitarian grounds”. This comes a day after travel, commercial and economic sanctions imposed on Niger by the regional bloc were lifted however, some targeted sanctions on some key figures remained in place. The ECOWAS leaders had met to address and resolve the political crisis in the region as well as the announcement in January by the military leaders in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali to withdraw from the regional bloc. The move has been considered a sign of appeasement as ECOWAS attempts to persuade the three junta governments not to leave the regional bloc. ECOWAS also “further urges the countries to reconsider the decision in view of the benefits that the ECOWAS member states and their citizens enjoy in the community”. Former Nigerian Head of State and founder of ECOWAS, General Yakubu Gowon Rtd had earlier called on the removal of the sanctions on the four countries and warned ECOWAS was “threatened with disunity”. Economic Sanctions and Implications In response to the military coups in the region, ECOWAS and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) introduced rigorous sanctions on all three countries—and Burkina Faso. ECOWAS had earlier imposed sanctions on Mali to pressure the junta to return to constitutional order, although they were lifted in 2022 after a 24-month transition to democracy and a new electoral law was proposed. Regarding Niger, ECOWAS closed its borders and put stringent conditions after soldiers detained President Mohamed Bazoum on 26th July 2023 and installed a transitional administration. The sanctions, affected open movement and trade within the region, and restricted economic and social access. The sanctions forced Niger, to cut down government spending and default on debt payments of more than $500 million. Neighbouring Nigeria also cut off power which accounted for 70% of Niger’s total electricity supply in August 2023. The bloc also banned financial transactions with its member institutions in Guinea after Colonel Mamady Doumbouya ousted President Alpha Conde in 2021. Despite this, Guinea defied border closures imposed by ECOWAS and gave the Sahel states access to its port, enabling Mali to receive grain and fertiliser from Russia. The economic sanctions had broader implications for other countries in the region. According to reports, sanctions on Niger resulted in price hikes of a range of key goods in countries like Ghana. President Tinubu, President of Nigeria and Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government acknowledged the unintended implications of the sanctions and emphasised the need “must re-examine our current approach to the quest for constitutional order in four of our Member States”. Alliance des États du Sahel (Alliance of Sahel States) and ECOWAS exit In September last year, military leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger formed the Alliance des États du Sahel (AES), in response to the threats of an ECOWAS military intervention in Niger after the military junta detained President Mohamed Bazoum. The resulting economic sanctions from both ECOWAS and WAEMU and tensions between juntas and ECOWAS exacerbated the geopolitical scenario, causing the AES to declare its immediate withdrawal from ECOWAS on 28th January 2024. The group also indicated that the sanctions were harming their people and also accused the bloc of being influenced by foreign governments. On the other hand, the exit of the AES from ECOWAS is projected to largely affect all ECOWAS projects and programmes worth more than $500m and $321.6m being executed by the region’s financial institutions. Additionally, the coup trend and fallout with ECOWAS increases the risk of political disorder and democracy and the spread of terrorism to the coastal states. There are also concerns that future juntas in the region would join the AES to evade ECOWAS demands to restore democracy fueling public resentment against the ECOWAS. Conclusion It is undeniable that the lifting of sanctions is a positive step in the right direction to promote dialogue between the juntas and the regional bloc. It is worth noting that the establishment of AES proved to be an effective bargaining tool in easing the sanctions on the military-led administrations and reducing pressure from ECOWAS to return to democratic rule. But the question remains, will the latest developments deter the AES from exiting from the ECOWAS regional bloc?

INTELLIGENCE, Reports, SECURITY THREATS

EMERGING THREATS IN THE WA MUNICIPALITY OF UPPER WEST REGION

Overview The Wa Municipality is one of the nine Districts/Municipal Assemblies that make up the Upper West Region of Ghana. The region is located in the northwest part of Ghana and shares borders with Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso to the north. In recent times, there has been the manifestation of incidents such as armed robberies, homicides, kidnaps, communal clashes, burglaries, human trafficking, and GSF operations to counter these acts captured between 2021 and 2022 in the Wa municipality. Wa is said to have no huge industrial and manufacturing industries and so employment opportunities are limited, which is a factor that could contribute to the existence of nefarious activities in the area. Kidnappings and murders Over the past few weeks, there have been a persistent trends of kidnap and murder incidents perpetrated by unidentified groups in the municipality. The most targeted victims have been identified as night security guards of companies and institutions. The modus operandi of the unknown perpetrators is to decimate victims and bury them in shallow graves.  Recent reports A night security guard was allegedly kidnapped at Star Standard International on 12 September 2022. In response to this, the Upper West Regional police announced a ban on the movement of tricycles in Wa from 2200 hrs. effective 13 September 2022 until further notice. The impacted school was also shut down while police monitored the school premises. A similar occurrence was noted during the early hours of 16 September 2022, when another security guard was believed to have been kidnapped near the Wa Technical Institute resulting in tension in the area. Aggrieved youths of the locality took to the streets and towards Wa Naa’s Palace to protest the high rate of crimes in the municipality. The protesters later occupied the main Wa traffic light, blocking the movement of vehicles for over an hour. The irate youth also locked up shops belonging to foreigners.  These two attacks came after another attempted murder of a security guard at Child Support Ghana Foundation Home on 9 September 2022. However, the victim survived the attack due to GSF intervention. These attacks have instigated fear among residents. Other night security guards have beckoned on their employers to equip them with necessary equipment to enable them to protect themselves.  Government’s response As a result of the persistent threat to the security of lives in Wa, three hundred and five Policemen comprising special purpose investigation and intelligence teams and crime combat teams were deployed in Wa on 17 September to beef up security and also carry out a proper investigation on the matter. A suspect was eventually arrested for his alleged involvement in the case. Following intelligence received by the police service’s investigative team, a body of an unidentified male adult buried in a shallow pit was recovered on Monday, 19 September 2022, at Bamahu, a suburb of Wa, a day after the body of a night security guard was exhumed behind Napogbakole, in the said Wa area. The situation surrounding these incidents remains unascertained, however, reports point to possible ritual killings. The Upper West regional police command indicated that they had arrested a total of 18 people so far in connection with these crimes. 

CURATED OSINT

Zamfara: We’re buying off gold from artisanal miners to stem its exchange for arms

The Zamfara State Commissioner of Environment, Mining and Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Nuruddeen Isah, has disclosed the state government is buying off the gold from artisanal miners to stop the commodity’s exchange for arms by foreigners.

The post Zamfara: We’re buying off gold from artisanal miners to stem its exchange for arms appeared first on Daily Nigerian.

CURATED OSINT

Jihadists violence triggers ‘unprecedented’ crisis in Burkina Faso

‘The country has never had to deal with such massive displacement’ Philip Kleinfeld Attacks by Islamist militants, military operations, and waves of inter-communal violence have left hundreds dead and tens of thousands displaced since January in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, triggering an “unprecedented” humanitarian crisis that has caught many by surprise. Homegrown…

The post Jihadists violence triggers ‘unprecedented’ crisis in Burkina Faso appeared first on Global Sentinel.

CURATED OSINT

30 Jihadists ‘Killed Or Captured’ In Raids Near Burkina Faso – French Military

  French and Malian troops killed or captured more than 30 extremists and dismantled a jihadist training camp during a major counter-terrorism operation near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso, the French military told AFP on Friday. “Over 30 members of armed terrorist groups were neutralised,” the military said, a term meaning that they were killed … Continue reading 30 Jihadists ‘Killed Or Captured’ In Raids Near Burkina Faso – French Military

CURATED OSINT

Islamic State, claims killing of Canadian in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

Islamic State claimed to have kidnapped and killed a Canadian citizen in Burkina Faso in January, but security sources said they believed he actually died during a botched attempt by a criminal gang to sell him on to another group. Canadian geologist Kirk Woodman’s body was found on January 16, two days after his abduction […]

The post Islamic State, claims killing of Canadian in Burkina Faso appeared first on Tribune Online.

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