Category Archives: Burkina Faso

Niger: December 2018 Chronology of Violent Incidents Related to Al-Qaeda affiliates Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Boko Haram, Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS)

By Rida Lyammouri,

January 16th, 2019


Key points for December 2018:

  • Nigerien government announced on 07 December 2018 the extension of State of emergency in Diffa Region three more months.
  • Reportedly, on 10 December 2018 militants cell discovered 15km from Birni N’Konni at Jima-Jima village, Sokoto Region on the borders with Nigeria. Local prefect pointed out this was an attempt to establish a coordination site to exchange information between different militants’ cells.
  • On 07 December the government declared State of emergency in Gotheye and Tillabéri departments, Tillabéri Region.
  • On 29 December 2018 JNIM released statement claiming the attack against police station of Tera, Tillabéri Region carried on 30 November 2018.
  • On 21 December 2018 and under the initiative of Mr. Mahamadou Bakabé, Diffa Region Governor, a meeting on the security situation extended to the administrative, customary, military and religious authorities in the presence of representatives of youth, women, and the media. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the very worrying security situation and the upsurge of attacks recently in addition the phenomenon of people kidnapping by suspected Boko Haram militants.
  • Important recommendations were formulated to deal with the situation, with particular emphasis on monitoring and the ability of the population to be resilient to the shock.
  • In December hundreds of schools have closed or suspended their courses in Tillabéri Region following threats from ISGS militants. These schools are mostly located near Ayorou and Abala on the borders with Mali, and Torodi on the borders with Burkina Faso.
  • French and Nigerien forces conducted air-ground joint operations near Tongo Tongo, Tillabéri Region. According to French defense ministry statement at least 15 suspected ISGS members killed while arms and ammunition seized.
  • Notable increase in acts of intimidation, ethnic related violence, and armed banditry in Tahoua and Tillabéri Region during month of December 2018 forced number of families to seek refuge in Ménaka, Mali.
  • In December 2018 important number of shops ransacked in villages in Diffa Region near Lake of Chad during incursions by suspected members of Boko Haram.

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Burkina Faso: December 2018 SITREP and Chronology of Violent Incidents Related to Al-Qaeda affiliates Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) and Ansaroul Islam, and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS)

By Rida Lyammouri

January 7th, 2019

Since the summer of 2018 Est Region of Burkina Faso witnessed rapid spread of violence attributed to unidentified militant groups. While most of previous attacks were attributed to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), recent claims by Jama’t Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen (JNIM) of attacks in the region confirm the presence of jihadist groups and the expansion of JNIM operations beyond northern regions on the borders with Mali. For instance, and for the first time, on 29 December 2018 JNIM released statement claiming 30 November 2018 complex attack. The attack carried against mining company escort near Bongou, between Pama and Fado. During same statement JNIM also claimed 22 December 2018 improvised explosive device (IED) attack near Kompienbiga on the road between Fada N’Gourma and Pama, Kompienga Province. Insecurity in Est Region also preventing locals from conducting their usual livelihood activities such as hunting and artisanal gold mining.

Violent attacks against security forces, institutions, and individuals with ties to central government continued in the month of December 2018 and most likely to continue in coming months. Acts of intimidation against civilian population witnessed during December as well and most likely to continue most notably in Sahel, Boucle du Mouhoun, Nord and Est Regions with strong possibility of expansion to other regions.


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Niger: November 2018 Chronology of Violent Incidents Related to Al-Qaeda affiliates Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), ISWAP, and Boko Haram

December 3rd, 2018

By Rida Lyammouri

  • Nigerien security forces conducted late October and early November operations along the Burkina Faso borders near Torodi, Say Province, Tillabéri Region. Minister of interior pointed out to deteriorated security conditions in the area.
  • On 30 November Nigerien government extended state of emergency to additional three communes of Tillabéri Region. These communes include Téra, Say, and Torodi. All communes located on the borders with Burkina Faso and especially close to Est Region where there is notable increase of suspected militants activities.
  • Diffa Region witnessed one major incident by suspected Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP). Additionally, at least 15 girls were taken while the outcome of more than 30 girls taken in the same area over a a year ago remains unknown.


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Burkina Faso: November 2018 SITREP and Chronology of Violent Incidents Related to Al-Qaeda affiliates Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) and Ansaroul Islam, and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS)

By Rida Lyammouri

December 3rd, 2018

Burkina Faso: NOV 2018 SITREP 

  • November followed recent trend as acts of violence and intimidation by suspected militant groups Ansaroul Islam and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) continued, if not increased, in Est and Sahel Regions. However this is based on assumptions and modes of operations since no attacks exclusively claimed by both groups. In Fada N’Gourma, Est Region local population staged protests and expressed support and backings to security forces on 02 November. On 08-09 November General Oumarou Sadou visited Fada N’Gourma, Est Region capital and met with administrative authorities and security forces based in the area. He also visited brigades based in Foutouri, Pama, and Kompienga, towns previously been under militants threats.
  • Since September 18, 2018, a curfew prohibits the movement of motorcycles from 7 pm to 5 am in the Est Region. The circulation of other vehicles is subject to strict controls.
  • On 01 November, prison guards on strike raided Minister of Justice residence. The government decided on November 14 the dismissal of the ranks of 10 members of the Prison Security Guard unit behind the raid, and suspended the activities of their union office.
  • On 14 November teachers’ unions suspended classes across Loroum Province, Nord Region after physical beating and abuse of teachers at Toulfé two days earlier. On 19 November another school announced its closure following threats received from militant groups at Kodjena village, Gnagna Province, Est Region.
  • On 13 November at least 10 bodies recovered after landslide at Basnéré, Soum Province, Sahel Region. Similar tragedy occurred at Kabonga between Fada and Pama, Est Region three weeks earlier where 50 to 100 people gone missing. Security forces reportedly hesitated to assist in fear of militants attacks. Another landslide recorded on 08 November at the gold mining site of Bontioli, Sud-Ouest Region where at least 10 people died.
  • On 19 November Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed to have been informed about the execution of 14 men detained at Gassel Liddji by Burkinabe Army in Soum Province, Sahel Region. Regional NGO Kisal also claimed that in the same week a total of 38 civilians have been allegedly executed in Soum Province and Burkinabe forces suspected to be behind it. On 22 November, NGO Kisal reported the execution of another 7 suspects arrested by security forces.
  • Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Burkina Faso launched on November 15 to November 22 a joint security operation called Koudanlgou II in the southern and western areas of Burkina Faso to crackdown transnational crimes, including terrorism, smuggling, and drugs trafficking. 150 suspects arrested while vehicles, arms, ammunition, drugs, and motorcycles seized.

Going forward: Violence and intimidation acts highly likely to continue against mining companies escorts and personnel, and civil servants in Est and Sahel Regions. Militant groups are aware of the importance of gold mining to the state and its international partners. Civil servants, notably teachers will become further reluctant to return to their posts in regions (Est and Sahel Regions) under constant threats by militant groups. Following recent success there is strong possibility to see expansion of similar acts to other regions of the country. In addition to Est and Sahel Regions, acts of intimidation against teachers observed by Sahel MeMo at least in Nord Region.


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Burkina Faso: June – October 2018 Chronology of Violent Incidents Related to Al-Qaeda affiliates Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) and Ansaroul Islam, and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS)

By Rida Lyammouri

November 1st, 2018



Key takeaways:

  • Militants activity in Burkina Faso have been on the rise for the past two years. Since June 2018 Sahel MeMo observed similar trend with an expansion from Northern parts bordering Mali and Niger, to the Est Region on the borders with Benin, Niger, and Togo. Militant groups have been trying to establish a base there since early 2016, explaining groups’ ability to carry complex deadly attacks, including the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
  • Violence in the eastern part of Burkina Faso by militant groups most likely to continue. In addition to targeting security forces and intimidation acts against civil servants, militants will look to continue to disrupt gold mining in the area. In fact, security forces in charge of protecting gold mines or escorting staff have been subject to attacks by militants at least in August 2018. If this to continue, livelihoods of local communities benefiting from gold mining could be at risk if security situation continues to deteriorate in the region.
  • These attacks are mostly attributed rather than claimed by militant groups known to operate in Burkina Faso. These militant groups include Ansaroul Islam, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen (JNIM), and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). Out of the three only JNIM have been consistent releasing official claims of attacks. Thus analysts, observers, journalists, and Burkinabe authorities are contributing most of violent incidents based on the area where occurred and means used. Important to note that between June and October 2018 no incidents officially claimed by JNIM. This could be explained by difficulty of movement during rainy season (June – October) in the region.
  • October 3rd witnessed the first reported French airstrikes against militants after request of support from Burkinabe authorities. This was following a deadly attack against Inata gold mine gendarmerie post.





Mali – Sahel: May 2018 Violent incidents by Al-Qaeda affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), Ansaroul Islam, and other security incidents

By Rida Lyammouri,

June 14, 2018

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Mali – Sahel: August 2017 – April 2018 Chronology of Violent Incidents by Al-Qaeda Affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), Ansaroul Islam, and Armed Banditry and Inter-Community Violence


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Mali – Sahel: July 2017 violent incidents related to JNIM [AQIM, Ansar al-Din, Al-Murabitoun, and MLF coalition], and other security incidents

By Rida Lyammouri,

September 7th, 2017

MALI – SAHEL: JULY 2017 Monthly Tracker – PDF 

July 2017 by the numbers:

  • JNIM claimed 7 attacks against French, MINUSMA, and Malian forces in July 2017.
  • Casualties summary in July 2017: At least 1 MINUSMA peacekeepers (or contractor) killed and 6 injured; 7 French soldiers injured; 11 Malian soldiers killed and 4 injured; 6 members of armed groups killed; 2 civilians killed and 2 injured in attacks claimed or attributed to JNIM or other VEOs operating in Mali.
  • July 2017 recorded multiple clashes between CMA and Platform forces, mostly in Kidal Region further complicating implementation of peace accord signed over two years ago.
  • Armed robberies against civilians transportation and NGO vehicles in central and northern regions continues to be major security concern.
  • French forces made several arrests of suspects collaborating with jihadist groups in Timbuktu Region.
  • In July 2017 JNIM claimed its first major attacks on Burkinabe and Nigerien forces in Burkina Faso and Niger respectively. Since its creation in March 2017, JNIM almost exclusively operated and only claimed attacks in Mali. During these attacks at least 5 Nigerien and 8 Burkinabe soldiers killed while 3 Nigerien injured.
  • After Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui released a letter threatening MSA and GATIA groups in June, number of attacks recorded in Ménaka Region where the group that pledged allegiance to so-called Islamic State operates.
  • Kisal NGO reported acts of violence by GATIA against Fulani herders following increased attacks by unidentified gunmen. GATIA accuses Fulani herders of collaboration with jihadist groups in Ménaka Region.
  • In Burkina Faso at least 10 people killed in Sahel Region as a result of target assassinations by suspected jihadists.

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Mali – Sahel: June 2017 Violent Incidents Related to Al-Qaeda Affiliate JNIM, Ansaroul Islam, and Other Security Incidents

By Rida Lyammouri

August 2nd, 2017


  • JNIM claimed 8 attacks against French, MINUSMA, and Malian forces in June 2017.
  • In June 4 MINUSMA peacekeepers killed and 9 injured, 4 French soldiers injured, 7 Malian soldiers killed and 12 wounded, 2 civilians executed and 2 injured.
  • Sahel MeMo noted number of inter-community violence. Deadly clashes were recorded between Fulani herders and Dogon farmers over land management. Clashes started as early as 25 May and went on and off through June, and took place on the borders between Mali and Burkina Faso, and included members from both countries. Casualties were estimated by Kisal NGO to be around 100.
  • Sahel MeMo recorded armed robberies against civilians and NGOs in central and northern regions.
  • French forces conducted from May 28 to June 1st joint operation at Serma forest, 200km SW of Gao with Malian and Burkinabe forces. Barkhane said successfully dismantled networks and camps used by JNIM affiliates in the area, neutralized around 20 militants, and seized arms and ammunition.
  • reported that since early June 2017 assassinations and acts of exaction of civilians have been recorded in Kidal Region between Imghad Tuareg and Idnan Tuareg.
  • Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui released a letter threatening MSA and GATIA groups.
  • In a short Facebook post, Ansaroul Islam announced change in leadership of the group. New leader identified as Jaafar Dicko supposedly to replace Maalam Ibrahim Dicko. Until now there is no confirmation if Ibrahim Dicko is dead.
  • Swedish hostage, Johan Gustafsson released on 27 June after being held by AQIM since November 25, 2011.

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Mali: Summary of Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) 01 July 2017 Video

By Rida Lyammouri,

02 July 2017

Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) released new video of six remaining hostages. Hostages detained include a French, Australian, South African, Colombian, Swiss, and Romanian. Video was released on 01 July 2017 through its media outlet az-Zallaqa but produced by al-Ezza production, first if I am not mistaken, and maybe JNIM’s new media outlet/platform! This came a day before French president, Emmanuel Macron, second visit to Mali within a month. Also, days before the release of Swedish hostage Johan Gustafsson who was kidnapped (with 5 others) by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in November 25, 2011 at Hotel al-Afia in Timbuktu.

Six hostages appeared in the video. South African Stephen McGow showed first in the is the only hostage remaining from Timbuktu 2011 kidnapping. Second, Australian Eliot Kenneth, kidnapped in Burkina Faso January 2016. His wife was also taken but then released weeks later. Romanian Lulian Ghergut, taken also in Burkina Faso April 2015. Worth noting that Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui, head of Islamic State branch in the Sahara claimed to have Lulian Ghergut when the group pledged allegiance to Islamic State, and split with al-Murabitun of Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

Before showing other hostages the video denounced Christian missionaries operating in Mali. This to justify the reasons of the kidnappings of three humanitarian workers. The first hostage accused of proselytization is the Swiss Béatrice Stockly, who was taken for the second time from Timbuktu in January 2016. Second hostage is the Colombian Gloria Cecilia Narvaez, also accused of proselytizing and described as “Franciscaine.” Sixth and last showed hostage is Sophie Pétronin, humanitarian and last to be taken, kidnapped in Gao December 2016. Sophie Pétronin was accused also of spreading western ideology while showing Emannuel Macron speech promising during the elections to protect the French people. Pétronin also appeared asking for French president’s help for her release, and her need for a surgery due to existing tumor in her left breast. This indicates that the video was made during the last two months, May and June 2017.

Representative of the jihadist group with face covered appeared and noted that serious negotiations has yet to take place. He also made reference to previous hostage releases and to say that this will depend on the political willingness of their respective governments.

Important to note JNIM’s video did not mention Jeff Woodke, an American who was abducted in Abalak, Niger in Oct 2016. An indication that he might be held by different group, and also tells us something about JNIM’s areas of operations.