Protests Rock Burkina Faso as Insecurity Worsens

Just forty-eight hours after he took over as the country’s defence minister, thousands of concerned citizens waving placards, red and green Burkinabe flags, and chanting songs took to the streets of Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday.

The protesters are calling for tougher government response to a wave of insurgent attacks that has destabilised the country in recent years.

Groups linked to al-Qaeda originally based in neighbouring Mali have dominated the north and east of the country, launching incessant attacks on civilians, including one in June that killed more than 130 people.

Pressure has increased on President Roch Kabore to take charge and end a humanitarian crisis in which over a million people have been displaced as a result of the violence.

Last Wednesday Kabore took the role of defence minister in a cabinet reshuffle aimed at appeasing opposition leaders, who have demanded the resignation of the government.

Despite the presence of thousands of UN peacekeepers, attacks by insurgents in West Africa’s Sahel region have intensified since the start of the year, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with mostly civilians at the receiving end.

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