Burkina Faso's Prime Minister, government resign over security crisis

·3-min read

Burkina Faso Prime Minister Christophe Joseph Marie Dabire has stood down from his position, taking the entire government with him, amid mounting protests against their inability to control a wave of jihadist attacks that have killed thousands.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who had already changed his military leadership over the security crisis, accepted Dabire's resignation by presidential decree.

Under Burkina Faso's law, the resignation of a prime minister also requires the resignation of the entire government.

After leaving his post, Dabire called on citizens to "support the president ... and the new executive that will be put in place".

"I remain convinced that through united action we will be able to meet the challenges our country and our people are facing," he wrote in a post on Facebook.

Rising wave of attacks

However the outgoing administration will be required to remain in a caretaker capacity until a new one is formed, government secretary general Stephane Wenceslas Sanou said, reading out the decree on public television.

Dabire resignation comes after the president last month stressed the need for a "stronger" cabinet on the eve of anti-government protests over the jihadist violence.

Kabore appointed Dabire in early 2019 as part of a reshuffle coinciding with a rising wave of jihadist attacks.

He was reappointed in January 2021, after the president was re-elected for his second and last term.

Dabire was previously Burkina Faso's representative at the eight-nation West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), and in the 1990s served as minister to former president Blaise Compaore, partly at a time when Kabore himself was prime minister.

Jihadist attacks have become increasingly regular and in Burkina Faso, killing 2,000 people and displacing 1.4 million others from their homes.

Groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State group have plagued the landlocked Sahel nation since 2015.

Anti-government protests

Burkina Faso is one of the world's poorest countries and its armed forces are ill-equipped to tackle highly mobile jihadists.

Attacks targeting civilians and soldiers are increasingly frequent, and the vast majority take place in the north and east, spreading from neighbouring Mali.

In mid-November, at least 57 people, 53 of them gendarmes, were killed in an attack on a police post in the country's north.

In late November, around 10 people were hurt when the security forces using teargas dispersed a rally in the capital Ouagadougou protesting at Kabore's security policies.

A French military convoy on its way to Niger and then on to Mali was blocked for several days, caught up in the protests in Burkina Faso, where locals blamed the French forces for not doing enough.

France has 5,100 troops in the Sahel under its Barkhane operation, which spans five countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

While it has killed many top jihadist leaders, violence has continued to intensify and spread in the region.

On 10 June, President Emmanuel Macron announced a major drawdown of France’s military presence in the Sahel, where forces have been battling jihadist insurgents for nearly a decade.

(with AFP)