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Burkina Faso to Employ Volunteers, Raise 150 Million Euros to Fund War Against Terrorist Insurgency

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Burkina Faso’s Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS- Burkina Faso President Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba is welcomed by soldiers in Dori, Sahel region as he arrives to motivate his troops.

By Muhammad Nooh Osman

Since 2015, the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, part of the highly destabilized African Sahel region – known to be a hotbed for terrorist activities and banditry, has been trying to curb terrorism in the country. However, the failure to tackle the threat has led Burkina Faso to witness two military coups within an eight-month period.

Burkina Faso is planning to raise about one billion West African CFA francs in 2023 in order to finance the country’s national military’s war against terrorism, including hiring more volunteers to support the army’s counter-terrorist activities, the West African nation’s Economy Minister Aboubacar Nacanabo said on Friday.

“As part of the fight against terrorism, the government has decided to recruit 50,000 members of the Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland,” or VDP, Nacanabo said following talks with Burkina Faso’s President Ibrahim Traore and partners.

The minister highlighted that volunteers in the national army would receive 60,000 CFA monthly, adding, “Beside this cost, weapons have to be bought to equip them, uniforms to fit them out, vehicles and fuel to move them.”

Regarding the mechanisms for raising the war funds, Nacanabo explained that a one percent tax would be implemented on all salaries, including those of members of parliament. In addition, the official suggested a sales tax on drinks, tobacco, Internet, and other luxury goods.

In November, at least 90,000 civilian volunteers joined Burkina Faso’s military forces under the VDP program, which was launched in 2019 to fight against terrorist groups linked to Daesh* and Al-Qaeda*, according to Ouagadougou authorities.

President Ibrahim Traore, a military captain who was sworn in as head of Burkina Faso’s transitional government in September following a coup against Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who himself came to power in a coup in January, promised to take back territory occupied by the “terrorist hordes.”

Terrorism in Burkina Faso has been spreading rapidly since 2015, in the wake of the defenestration of Blaise Compaore, who had ruled the country for 27 years from 1987 to 2014.

Daesh and Al-Qaeda are terrorist organization banned in Russia and many other countries around the world.

Osman is a Sputnik writer and editor specialising in foreign affairs, Africa, US, and Middle East news.