Panafrican News Agency

Women increasingly joining armed terrorist groups in Burkina Faso - Minister

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (PANA) - The Burkinabe Minister of Gender and Family, Salimata Nebié Conombo, noted on Friday that more and more women are present alongside armed terrorist groups on Burkinabe territory.

"It is a worrying turn in the fight against terrorism which is little talked about but which is gaining momentum. It is the very noticeable and very active participation of women in terrorist activities and actions," said Nebié Conombo at a press conference.

"It is recurrently reported that women are participating more and more in terrorist activities alongside men. Indeed, they have become more active in all aspects of terrorist activities, i.e. supply, intelligence, logistical support and actions during attacks," the minister added.

She said that during the attacks on the Barsologho detachment on 10 July 2022, some women were seen encouraging terrorist fighters and others even attacking homes.

"This way of doing things had already been observed in the majority of previous attacks on localities or military detachments in Burkina Faso," the minister said, adding that during the recent attack on the Kelbbo detachment on 25 July, women were observed picking up wounded and dead terrorists.

"Considering the role women play in our society, this trend is very worrying. Women are supposed to be peacemakers rather than perpetrators of violence," she said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Yves Didier Bamouni of the Operations Command of the National Theatre, who co-hosted the press conference, maintained that actions are being taken to disable terrorist cadres on Burkinabe soil.

Regarding suspicions of the existence of a clandestine airstrip in northern Burkina Faso, he explained that this information is not confirmed.

"A few days ago, a certain press reported that a landing strip had been discovered on our territory. At the level of the national theatre command, we have undertaken verification actions in order to be certaon. At this stage of our investigations, these allegations are not confirmed," he said.

"What we can say, however, is that military infrastructure is being built as part of the upcoming acquisition of our equipment," he said.

In terms of acquisition of new equipment for the defence and security forces, he said that great efforts have been made by the state to strengthen the equipment. "We believe that these acquisitions will allow some to strengthen the existing capabilities and others to expand the fields of possibility on the operational and strategic level."

Concerning the two weeks given to the population to free the areas of military interest, which have been exhausted, he explained that radio messages have been broadcast in the areas concerned to explain to the population the implications of these measures and the conduct to be followed.

"There have been no difficulties in applying the measure. From now on, any person who is in one of the defined zones will be considered as hostile," he said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Bamouni also praised the military cooperation with Russia, which, he said, was not new.

-0- PANA TNDD/JSG/BBA/MA 29July2022