The World Today for April 11, 2023


The Spiral


Security forces in Burkina Faso recently murdered a 16-year-old boy and others in Ouahigouya, a regional capital of the landlocked West African country. In a chilling report, the Associated Press detailed the teenage boy’s gruesome murder in the street, citing an 83-second video.

Such episodes could stem from Burkina Faso’s leader, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who took power in a coup in September, recruiting 50,000 volunteer fighters to help him fight al Qaeda, Islamic State, and other militants who have been running rampant in the country, the Institute for Security Studies wrote. Jihadists have killed thousands of people – at least 44 on Sunday in two of the most recent incidents, for example – and displaced two million others. But the volunteer fighters have contributed to a repressive and corrupt atmosphere in the country, as this Vatican News story about security forces killing a missionary illustrated.

As the Soufan Center explained, Islamic militants recently killed 50 soldiers in the remote northeastern Oudalan Province. Their deaths came shortly after Traoré announced that French forces that had been aiding the country’s counter-terrorism efforts would be departing the country. The change appealed to citizens who have not forgotten their country’s fight for independence from France in 1960, but it left a vacuum that mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group almost filled until they likely were rerouted to fight in Ukraine.

The military junta that Traoré leads also recently expelled journalists from Le Monde and Libération, two major French daily newspapers, wrote Agence France-Presse, describing the deportations as “a new sign of the deterioration of press freedom and relations with France in this country bruised by jihadist violence.”

While militants attack soldiers and the country’s leaders avoid scrutiny, Burkina Faso is experiencing a horrific humanitarian crisis. A fifth of the country’s population, or 4.7 million people, will need financial and humanitarian aid worth $877 million in 2023, the United Nations said.

Born in 1988, Traoré is one of Africa’s youngest leaders. While saying that he would like to cultivate democracy and pragmatically partner with both the US and Russia – Burkina Faso’s military has many ties with the US, Rolling Stone magazine revealed – one of his first foreign policy moves has been improving ties with North Korea, the National Review wrote.

Still, the country is trying to rally. Around 64 percent of Burkinabes are Muslim, reported Reuters. Almost a quarter are Christians. Members of both religious communities recently gathered in the capital of Ouagadougou to promote religious tolerance and commemorate Ramadan and Lent.

Traoré might consider looking to such events rather than Pyongyang as inspiration.

To read the full edition and support independent journalism, join our community of informed readers and subscribe today!

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.