Burkina Faso’s chief of staff calls for ‘new momentum’ to fight jihadist terrorism

Burkina Faso’s new armed forces chief, appointed last week in the wake of a military coup, vowed on Wednesday to give a “new impetus” to the years-long struggle against jihadist rebels.

At a ceremony marking his appointment, Colonel David Kabir said he appealed to all units “to commit to a new commitment with me – to give new impetus to the fight against terrorism in our country.”

“My assumption of leadership coincides with a badly deteriorating security situation that has been marked by renewed terrorist attacks in several parts of the country,” Capri said.

He added that his first priority is to “restore territorial integrity.”

“I will, with the National Theater Operations Command, develop precise mechanisms for planning, implementing and coordinating operations,” he said, adding: “Our movements toward the offensive will be reconfigured.”

Capri, 54, who was once sports minister for two years, was appointed on February 4 to replace General Gilbert Ouedraogo, 11 days after the landlocked nation suffered its latest coup.

Ouedraogo became very unpopular with the troops due to his handling of the insurgency that swept from neighboring Mali in 2015.

More than 2,000 people have died, according to AFP statistics, while the country’s emergency agency says more than one and a half million people have fled their homes.

Burkina Faso is one of the world’s poorest countries, and its army, facing a ruthless and mobile enemy, is poorly equipped and poorly trained.

The leader of the new junta, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaugo Damiba, last Friday ordered the creation of a new headquarters – the National Theater Operations Command.

The role of the center will be that of the national coordinator – to “conceive, organize and support missions to secure” the country.

Rebels led by Damiba have ousted the country’s elected president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, against a backdrop of popular anger over rising insecurity.


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