Burkina parties agree strategy to tackle security crisis

A forum seeking national consensus on the country’s six-year-old insurgency wrapped up late Wednesday, more than three months after it was launched.

The dialogue, opened by President Roch Marc Kabore on June 17, had hit rocky waters after just three days.

Opposition leaders walked out, demanding the resignation of the defence and security ministers after scores of villagers were killed in a fresh jihadist onslaught.

After mass protests forced the ministers out and the president himself took over the defence portfolio, the talks resumed on Monday.

Kabore, summing up the talks, said security and national reconciliation issues needed to be addressed.

“We cannot provide relevant responses to the key concerns of our nation about security and national reconciliation without a national consensus, a patriotic mobilisation and a high sense of duty and national interest,” he said.

He congratulated opposition and government figures for their “mutual commitment and ability to listen”.

Details of the plan were sketchy, but the so-called patriotic mobilisation is set to support to volunteer defence force already in place.

“We have adopted recommendations for supporting our defence and security forces and the Volunteers for the Defence of the Motherland and for strengthening public resilience,” said opposition representative Gilbert Noel Ouedraogo.

The landlocked Sahel state is one of the poorest countries in the world and dogged by a long history of political volatility.A girl at a camp for internally displaced people in Barsalogho, northern Burkina Faso (AFP/OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT)

In 2015, jihadists coming from neighbouring Mali began a bloody campaign that so far has left more than 1,500 people dead and forced at least 1.4 million to flee their homes.

Poorly equipped and trained, the army and their volunteer auxiliaries have suffered heavy losses against a mobile foe skilled at ambushes and roadside bombs.



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