Burkina Faso to Enlist 5,000 Soldiers to Bolster Fight Against Terrorism
© AP Photo / Kilaye BationoSoldiers loyal to Burkina Faso's latest coup leader Capt. Ibrahim Traore gather outside the National Assembly as Traore was appointed Burkina Faso's transitional president in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Friday Oct. 14, 2022.
© AP Photo / Kilaye Bationo
Since 2015, the West African nation, which was the scene of two military coups last year, has been suffering from the jihadist violence that hit Mali and Niger a few years ago and spread beyond their borders. Amid worsening security issues, the country's military government has launched a campaign to recruit more soldiers and tackle the insurgency.
Burkina Faso is going to launch the "exceptional recruitment" of 5,000 soldiers to serve in the army for at least five years, which is seen as part of the government's efforts to combat jihadists, the country's minister of defense, Colonel Major Kassoum Coulibaly, has said in a statement.
"An exceptional recruitment of 5,000 non-commissioned soldiers for the national armed forces, to serve for at least five years, in their military region of recruitment, will take place throughout the national territory," the statement read.
According to the minister, the recruitment of young male soldiers will take place from February 28 to March 7. The young men concerned must have been born between January 1, 1988 and December 31, 2003.
Some of Burkina Faso's regions that are most targeted by terrorists will have higher quotas for recruitment, namely Boucle du Mouhoun in the west (1,000), Sahel in the north (900), and the region of Est (750).
The recent announcement marks the third in a series of recruitment drives organized by the country's government in less than a year. In April 2022, 3,000 soldiers, whose age did not exceed 26, were recruited. The same process was also launched in October.
Captain Ibrahim Traore, who has been the interim leader of Burkina Faso since the military coup of September 2022, set the objective of "reconquering" approximately 40% of Burkinabe territory occupied by jihadist groups. Burkina Faso also announced its plans to raise about one billion West African CFA francs (about $1.6 million) in 2023 in order to finance the national military's war against terrorism, including hiring more volunteers to support the counter-terrorist activities.
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In December, the government decided to recruit 50,000 members for the Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland. The program was initiated in 2019 to fight against terrorist groups linked to Daesh* and al-Qaeda*. In November last year, at least 90,000 civilian volunteers joined Burkina Faso’s military forces under the program.
* Daesh and al-Qaeda are terrorist organization banned in Russia and many other countries around the world.