In 2019, the security situation has rapidly deteriorated in Burkina Faso, including the increasing use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), impacting national defense and security services and the civilian population. UNMAS deployed in Burkina Faso in September 2019, to mitigate the risks posed by explosive ordnance to the civilian population, humanitarian and development actors, and to support the national authorities of Burkina Faso, through the implementation of explosive threat preventive measures and advisory services.
Deliver explosive ordnance risk education to the civilian population and assist victims of explosive incidents
Deliver explosive awareness to UN personnel, humanitarian and development actors
Deliver capacities of security institutions and law enforcement agencies to mitigate the explosive threat
Since 2016, Burkina Faso has been the subject of more than 700 attacks by non-state armed groups. A total of 89 Improvised Explosive Device (IED) incidents have been recorded since January 2016, with a net increase in the number of incidents in the past two years (2016:1; 2017:6; 2018:25; 2019:53). The Security and Defense Forces have been the main targets of the attacks, however, civilians and civilian infrastructures (e.g., schools, bridges, and roads) are increasingly being impacted. On 4 January 2020, fourteen people were killed and nineteen wounded when a bus carrying students ran over an IED in northern Burkina Faso.
IED attacks by non-state armed groups in Burkina Faso have significant humanitarian consequences; to-date, more than 560,000 people are internally displaced in the Centre-Nord, Est, Nord, and Sahel regions. In these regions, access to humanitarian assistance and basic services are becoming increasingly difficult, given the presence of armed groups and the fear of IEDs.
In March 2019, the UN Secretary-General established a UN Emergency Task Force for Burkina Faso with two working groups, including on Rule of Law and Security Institutions, in which UNMAS is a member.
Following a technical assessment in June-July 2019, UNMAS deployed in Ouagadougou in September 2019 with the following objectives:
- Provide technical expertise to the Ministry of Security and the UN Country Team through the delivery of training and protective equipment;
- Deliver explosive ordnance risk education to protect the civilian population affected by the conflict;
- Deliver IED awareness and related trainings to UN personnel and humanitarian workers, especially in the regions where the UN has recently expanded its presence;
- Consolidate, map and analyze the trends and impact of the explosive threat to inform the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Explosive Threat Analysis: UNMAS is currently developing a consolidated IED incidents database and provides an analysis of the trends and the impact of the explosive threat. UNMAS analysis confirmed that non-state 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. The frequency of the use of IEDs is dramatically increasing.
Explosive Ordnance Risk education for the civilian population: Given the growing number of civilian victims, UNMAS is currently developing programmatic support to the National Commission to Combat the Proliferation of Light Weapons (CNLPAL) to implement explosive ordnance risk education for the civilian population living in regions affected by the conflict, including internally displaced persons, in order to mitigate the risks posed by explosive ordnance and strengthen resilience. The Mine Action sub-cluster was activated in January 2020.
Risk awareness for UN personnel and Humanitarian Actors: UNMAS delivers explosive awareness to UN personnel, as well as humanitarian and development actors, to allow them to operate in an environment contaminated by explosive ordnance.
Development of national capacities to respond to the explosive threat: UNMAS delivers IED awareness to the national security forces (mainly the national police) with a focus on regions affected by the conflict and with the aim to scale up training operations to contribute to the development of a sustained IED threat-mitigation capacity.
UNMAS Burkina Faso is currently operating with funding from the Governments of Denmark and from The Netherlands. This funding covers UNMAS limited presence and small-scale operations in Burkina Faso up to January 2020. It is anticipated that UNMAS will require extra-budgetary funds for the implementation of activities from February 2020 onwards.
A programmatic concept note is available on request.
For more information:
Philippe Renard, Project Manager, UNMAS Burkina Faso, PhilippeR@unops.org
Paul Heslop, Chief of Programme, UNMAS New York, firstname.lastname@example.org
(As of 13 January 2020)