CRISIS24 Security Alert: Burkina Faso


24 MAR 2023 | 04:42 PM UTC

Burkina Faso: Heightened security likely around Zorkoum, Sanmatenga Province, through late March after attack kills 14 security personnel in area March 22

Increased security likely around Zorkoum, Burkina Faso, through late March after assailants kill 14 security personnel in area March 22.


Increased security is likely in the vicinity of Zorkoum, Sanmatenga Province, through at least late March after an armed attack killed at least 14 members of security forces in the area March 22. Among those killed were four soldiers and 10 others affiliated with the Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP), a civilian self-defense group organized to combat militant violence. The security forces were reportedly stationed in the area to provide security for workers fixing water infrastructure used to supply the nearby town of Kaya; armed assailants have regularly sabotaged the infrastructure. While no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, Islamist militants are likely behind the assault.

In response to the attack, authorities may implement movement restrictions, vehicle checks, bans on public gatherings, and/or an extension of the existing nighttime curfew that is scheduled to run through at least April 4. Burkinabe forces may carry out airstrikes and ground assaults on suspected militant positions over the short term. Further armed clashes between militants and security forces cannot be ruled out.


In recent years, Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) and Ansaroul Islam have emerged as the main non-state armed groups in Burkina Faso. Both groups have claimed responsibility for attacks in the country. Further attacks are likely given the limited capabilities of the nation's security forces and persistent political instability.


Exercise a high degree of caution in the affected location and heed authorities' instructions. Maintain a very low profile, restrict nighttime movements, vary routines, and move in guarded convoys. Minimize exposure to potential targets, including places of worship, security installations, markets, and other crowded locations. Carry proper identification and travel documents at all times. Remain polite and nonconfrontational if stopped at a security checkpoint. Maintain contact with your diplomatic mission.