Feature

Burkina Faso: A nation targeted by al Qaida

The U.S. Peace Corps recalled its American volunteers from villages throughout Burkina Faso, after learning that al Qaida planned to take Westerners hostage, said San Evariste Barro in L’Observateur Paalga.

San Evariste Barro
L’Observateur Paalga

Al Qaida’s North African arm has extended to Burkina Faso, said San Evariste Barro. The extremist group that calls itself al Qaida in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb started out a few years ago in Algeria as a rebranding of the local Islamist group, the Salafists. It has spread through Niger, Mali, and Mauritania, and now it seems to have reached our own corner of West Africa.

Last week, the U.S. Peace Corps recalled its American volunteers from villages throughout Burkina Faso, after the U.S. government informed the group that al Qaida planned to take Westerners here hostage. So why would al Qaida strike here? Could it be because of the growing rapport between Burkina Faso and the U.S.? It’s certainly true that, after a long period of iciness, “relations between Ouagadougou and Washington have warmed during the last decade.” The presence of U.S. aid workers is proof of that.

Whatever the reason, the jihadists now have us in their sights. Burkina Faso is no longer “the island of tranquility” in a troubled region.

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