UNMAS Burkina Faso deployed in 2019 as part of the UN Secretary General’s Emergency Task Force for Burkina Faso to provide an assessment on the growing improvised explosive devices (IED) threat and provide advisory services to the mission. The Resident Coordinator requested UNMAS to provide support to the Government of Burkina Faso and improve threat mitigation for civilians in areas impacted by conflict.
Since establishment in September 2019, UNMAS Burkina Faso has:
In August 2020, initiated the first humanitarian mine action activities for communities in need, delivering risk education to 25,610 people living in high-risk areas, including IDPs, in the Boucle du Mouhoun, Sahel, North, Centre-Nord, and Est regions.
Provided IED threat awareness to 784 UN and NGO Personnel (164 women, 620 men) operating in areas affected by conflict and the presence of explosive ordnance.
Raised risk awareness on IEDs for 1,748 members of law and security agencies in coordination with the Ministry of Security and provided 7 Non-Technical Reconnaissance (NTR) and Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) trainings for 208 personnel in 7 different regions.
Established the Mine Action Sub-Cluster in partnership with the National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms (CNLPAL) and is working to fully-integrate humanitarian mine action into the wider response at both the field and strategic level for 2021.
The humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso is rapidly deteriorating. Already exacerbated by the mass displacement of more than one million people and lack of access to basic services, there is an increasing trend of violence characterized by the exponential use of IEDs and other explosive ordnance.
The propagation of IEDs is a very worrying development as their use risks compounding existing vulnerabilities, hindering freedom of movement and safe access to basic services, and increasing instability, in addition to posing a direct threat to civilians and humanitarian operations. 1,029,908 men, women, boys, and girls are estimated to be living in the areas most impacted.
Explosive hazard incidents continue to follow a rising trajectory, increasing exponentially each year. Between January and September 2020, 66 incidents were registered with over 152 victims; this is a marked increase from the same period in 2019, which saw 49 accidents that killed or wounded 82 people. While members of the defense and security forces are believed to be the primary targets, the number of civilian casualties has increased significantly in 2020 to nearly half of all victims (49.3%), up from 36% in 2019, and 93% of accidents have occurred along roads, rendering IDPs and other persons in movement at great risk.
In March 2019, the UN Secretary-General established a UN Emergency Task Force for Burkina Faso with two working groups, including Rule of Law and Security Institutions, which UNMAS is a member of.
Following a technical assessment in July 2019, UNMAS deployed in Ouagadougou in September 2019 with the following objectives:
- Analyse the trends and impact of the explosive threat.
- Provide technical expertise to Burkina Faso law enforcement deployed in high-risk areas in mitigating the IED threat.
- Equip high-risk communities, including UN agencies and humanitarian actors with safety knowledge to reduce the risk of IED threat.
Explosive Threat Analysis:
UNMAS is developing a consolidated IED incidents database and provides analysis on the trends and impact of the explosive threat. UNMAS analysis confirmed that armed groups operating in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, have a regional capacity for the knowledge-transfer of IED techniques, tactics, and procedures, threatening peace and security in the country and in the sub-region and as such, the frequency of the use of IEDs in Burkina Faso is increasing.
Risk Education for the Affected Communities:
UNMAS has developed a package of programmatic support for the CNLPAL to facilitate the implementation of explosive ordnance risk education for civilians affected by the conflict in order to mitigate the risk posed by explosive devices and strengthen resilience. In August 2020, UNMAS began implementing risk education for civilians in the most affected regions. As of 30 September, UNMAS has delivered 821 EORE sessions for 25,610 (5,157 men, 8,173 women, 5,893 boys, 6,383 girls) people living in high-risk areas, including IDPs, in the Boucle du Mouhoun, Sahel, Nord, Centre-Nord and Est regions.
Risk Education for Humanitarian Actors and the UN:
Since Jan 2020, UNMAS has delivered IED risk awareness sessions to 784 (164 women; 620 men) UN and NGO personnel based in Kaya, Dori, Ouahigouya, Fada N´Gourma respectively in the Centre-Nord, Sahel, Nord, and Est regions.
Development of national capacities to address the explosive threat:
Since January 2020, UNMAS has delivered IED risk awareness sessions to 1,748 (150 women, 1,598 men) members of law and security agencies To help support the safe continuation of law enforcement functions, UNMAS conducted 7 NTR and IFAK training for 208 (36 women, 172 men) security personnel in the Centre, Est, Sahel, Centre-Nord, Haut-Bassins, Nord, and Boucle du Mouhoun regions. 248 IFAKs and 40 NTR kits were distributed to the units that participated in the trainings.
For 2020, UNMAS Burkina Faso has received generous and strong support from the Government of Canada, unearmarked pooled funding provided by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
As the crisis continues to deteriorate and the need for mine action increases, it is estimated that the financial requirements for an effective response in 2021 are USD 2 million. This funding would enable UNMAS to implement planned risk education activities and look to undertake additional efforts, including victim assistance.
(Data updated: October 2020)