One million internally displaced refugees in Burkina Faso
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Burkina Faso is under intense pressure from Sunni Islamic jihadists and ethnic tensions that blight this nation. At the same time, the infrastructure is extremely weak. Therefore, the number of internally displaced keeps on growing.
In early 2019, less than 100,000 people were internally displaced. Yet Islamist attacks against Christians and Muslims alike – similar to Boko Haram in Nigeria – means constant fear. Also, ethnic tensions equally blight the northern and eastern regions of Burkina Faso.
The upshot of the growing Islamist insurgency means one million people are now internally displaced. This is roughly one in every twenty people. Therefore, the situation is critical for Burkina Faso.
Babar Baloch, a spokesperson for the UNHCR, uttered, “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.”
Isolated Christian communities have been attacked by Islamists thus a feeling of hopelessness prevails. Meanwhile, the evolving cycle of ethnic violence means that many internal refugees have fled several times.
The international community needs to focus on the Sahel region to a much greater extent. This applies to the severity of the crisis in nations that include Burkina Faso and Mali.
If not, then the repercussions will be enormous internally and externally.
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