More than 17,500 people have been forced to flee Burkina Faso since the start of the year, due to jihadist attacks, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced on Friday, which said it was “alarmed by the acceleration of these forced displacements ”.
“The total number of Burkinabè refugees has almost doubled in just six months,” UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said in a note sent to AFP.
“There are now 38,000 Burkinabé refugees and asylum seekers across the region,” he said.
Mass exiles in the direction of Mali and Niger
Most have fled to neighboring countries: mainly to Mali, which hosts 20,000 Burkinabè, including 6,600 who have arrived in the Timbuktu region (north-west) since the start of the year and in Niger, which has 11,400 asylum seekers from Burkina Faso. against 7,400 in January.
While 430 Burkinabè asylum seekers found refuge in Côte d’Ivoire in May, 179 were identified by UNHCR in northern Benin, where “thousands more” are believed to be living in border areas inaccessible to aid workers. security reasons.
1,500 dead from jihadist violence
Burkina Faso also has more than 1.3 million “internally displaced persons”, people forced to flee their homes for other localities in the country, ie 6% of the population. “The rate of forced displacement within the country shows no signs of slowing down,” notes UNHCR.
Burkina Faso, a poor Sahelian country, has been facing increasingly frequent and deadly jihadist attacks since 2015, in particular by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims, affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi) and the Islamic State group in the Great Sahara (EIGS). The security forces are struggling to stop this jihadist violence which has left more than 1,500 dead.
By Le Figaro with AFP