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Sahelian juntas to form joint force

Three West African countries led by military juntas – Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso – have announced plans to form a joint force to combat jihadist threats. Niger's army chief, Moussa Salaou Barmou, said the force would be operational as soon as possible but did not specify its size. The move comes as reports emerged of 170 people “executed” in three villages in Burkina Faso on the same day that separate jihadist attacks on a mosque and a church left dozens more dead. Jihadist groups now control nearly 40% of Burkina Faso, while the junta has pursued aggressive military campaigns that critics say have exacerbated the country's humanitarian crisis. Over 2 million people in Burkina Faso have been displaced, the vast majority since the jihadist conflict intensified in 2019, and a quarter of the 22 million population now relies on humanitarian aid. The situation is especially critical in dozens of towns, like Djibo, that jihadists are blockading as part of their military strategy. Find out more about Burkina Faso’s rapid descent from – not so long ago – a bastion of peace in the region to one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement crises in our November 2023 article.

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