Burkina Faso: A video circulated on pro-Al-Qaeda channels on Telegram announces the establishment of a new Al-Qaeda branch in the West African country of Burkina Faso.
Screenshot from the video
The freshly circulated video is 1 minute 53 seconds long and shows 4-5 militants standing in front of a pick up truck with Al-Qaeda flags. Only one militant, his face hidden with a brown cloth and holding a notepad, does the talking in weak Arabic, where he announces the establishment of a new Al-Qaeda branch in Burkina Faso.
It is worth noting that in the past, Al-Qaeda attacks in Burkina Faso had been claimed by Al-Qaeda’s branch in Mali, the AQIM, which also covers Niger, Libya, Algeria and Mauritania.
UPDATE: According to ITCT Associate Jasmine Opperman, the video is not new and in fact it is a clip from an older Al-Qaeda video that was released by Al-Qaeda’s Mali branch in 2017.
“The timing of the release of the video is of importance. Burkina Faso’s vulnerability to extremism has significantly increased during the preceding months with attacks escalating into the eastern region, though no claim to credit by a specific group has been released for these attacks”, says Jasmine, who closely monitors terrorism in Africa.
She further adds,”Organised crime and extremism tends to flourish where good governance is generally lacking. As such, arms, drugs, money, consumer goods and people flow freely across borders due to weak state structures overlaid by closely connected communities and criminal networks that span the area between organized crime and extremist activities. There are concerns about the several security challenges facing the sub- region including the escalation of jihadist activities in countries such as Burkina Faso. The video is a re-affirmation of JNIM to remain predominant and protect vital supply lines via organized crime syndicate collaboration.”
A previous version of this article reported the video as “new”. The mistake has now been corrected.