Burkina Faso is a neglected crisis: Vast numbers need help

Burkina Faso is a neglected crisis: Vast numbers need help

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The recent massacre of over 160 people in Burkina Faso by Sunni Islamists is a grim reminder of the daily suffering of so many people. Hence, the number of internally displaced refugees in Burkina Faso is now over one million people. Therefore, the feeling of hopelessness pervades throughout many parts of the country.

Voice of America reports, “The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) calls Burkina Faso the world’s fastest-growing displacement and protection crisis, with more than 1 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and counting.”

In early 2019, the internally displaced figure was approximately 100,000 people. Thus with each new Islamists attack or ethnic massacre, the number of refugees swells because of the feeling of mass vulnerability.

A spokesperson for the UNHCR, Babar Baloch, said, “Host populations are at a breaking point as they share the little resources they have, while also facing themselves poverty, strained health services and rapidly disappearing livelihoods. For people who have fled wars, persecutions and for the communities hosting them, the additional impact of COVID is devastating.”

The Christian community in isolated parts of the country where Islamists attack the most reside in fear. Similarly, non-Takfiri Sunni Muslims know that Islamists despise their indigenous versions of Islam that focus on inclusiveness. Therefore, with ethnic tensions also existing in Burkina Faso, the crisis runs deep.

International support is needed for the entire Sahel region because ethnic bloodshed and Islamist terrorism are all too common in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, and in the environs of this vast region including Nigeria.

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