Burkina Faso, West Africa has some of the most dangerous borders in the world–with Mali and Niger as its neighbors it’s only a matter of time before the chaos spills over. Burkina Faso has enjoyed peaceful times even at the heights of the War in Mali, but recently Islamic Terror Groups (ITGs) operating in Mali are starting to gain support inside Burkina Faso. One of the most active groups there is Ansar ul Islam, led by Ibrahim Malam Dicko. He is pushing his agenda and campaign hard in the region, though they use Mali as base and staging area for assaults on Burkina Faso.
The Burkinabé Army has announced that it has killed a dozen militants in Ariel, near the border with Mali. This is not the first time Burkinabé Army has had trouble from the Ansar ul Islam group and their radical preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko. A detachment of Burkinabé counter-terrorist forces, stationed in Nassoumbou in the province of Soum, neutralized “a dozen terrorists” on Thursday. “Clashes took place this [Thursday, November 9] at 13:30 between a reconnaissance patrol detachment of Nassoumbou and armed groups who had taken a stand at Ariel,” said a young Burkinabé security source.
“After violent clashes, reports show about a dozen attackers shot dead. Four bodies were able to be recovered [by the anti-terrorist forces] and a large stock of weapons was taken away by the detachment,” said the military source, on the condition of anonymity. Four soldiers wounded in the operation.
According to the assessment of the army, at least four soldiers who participated in the battle were wounded–one’s injuries are quite serious. In addition, a soldier was temporarily missing and finally found. “One of our men went missing on the call, but was able to get back to the base. He has some scratches,” said our military source.
A security official, contacted by Jeune Afrique, said that the group of armed persons–whom he identifies as “elements of Ansar ul,” the jihadist group created by the preacher Ibrahim Malam Dicko, was spotted in the hills between Kereboulé and Ariel on the night of November 8-9. Their movement was then followed by the army, which decided to intervene.
Ansar ul Islam is backed and supported by JNIM in Mali, although recent social media reports are trying to link the group to the Islamic State. If this link if true, it could be disastrous for the region. The Islamic State has ground in Mali through ISGS, Nigeria through ISWAP, and IS has a stronghold in Libya. Linking operations from Libya down to Nigeria would prove to be a difficult battle to win. On top of that, the group also operates in Chad so this will be a long battle for security forces in the area. If the US and Europe decided to take on this fight full swing, they better prepare for something long-term. I don’t mean another 13 years like Afghanistan–I would say somewhere in the area of 30+ years.
Images courtesy of Twitter.