JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — Burkina Faso’s prime minister has been fired amid escalating jihadi violence that’s killed thousands and displaced more than 1 million people.
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore sacked his prime minister amid weeks of anti-government protests in which demonstrators have criticized his government’s inability to stem extremist attacks by al-Qaida and the Islamic State across the West African nation.
Last month saw the deadliest violence against the country’s security forces in recent memory, with more than 50 gendarmes killed in the Sahel region.
Prime Minister Christophe Joseph Marie Dabire was removed as a result of the president’s commitment to setting up a “tighter and more cohesive government,” Communications Minister Ousseni Tamboura, told The Associated Press. He didn’t know when a new government would be formed, he said.
According to Burkina Faso law, the prime minister’s resignation requires the entire government to resign. The outgoing Cabinet ministers will remain in their positions until a new one is formed, said the president’s statement.
Dabire became prime minister in 2019 and was reappointed after Kabore won reelection to a second term in November, 2020. Kabore’s action to get rid of his prime minister is part of a last-ditch effort to regain political and military control in the face of plummeting popularity, said Alexandre Raymakers, senior Africa analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, a risk consultancy.
“Kabore is running out of political options and his decision to replace the prime minister will likely only provide a short-term reprieve,” he said.
As the government struggles to quell civil unrest and bolster the military, Burkina Faso is also facing a growing humanitarian crisis. More than 1.6 million people — out of a population of 20 million — are facing hunger with hundreds of thousands predicted to be on the brink of starvation next year, according to the latest food security report by the government and U.N. agencies.
As the violence cuts off swaths of land, civilians are unable to farm and aid groups are having a harder time delivering food assistance, sparking concern that hunger will grow.
“What worries the World Food Program the most is the increase of the population classified in emergency food insecurity. It will increase by 27% over a year to nearly 440,000 people who cannot afford to face a new shock,” said Antoine Renard, WFP’s country director in Burkina Faso.
“It is the third year in a row that Burkina Faso faces such large figures,” he said. “It reflects the deepening of the conflict and the regional Sahel crisis.”