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Burkina conscripts dissidents in anti-jihadist fight: HRW

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Burkina conscripts dissidents in anti-jihadist fight: HRW

by AFP Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) Nov 9, 2023
Burkina Faso's junta has conscripted at least a dozen journalists, civil society activists and opposition members for its anti-jihadist fight in a crackdown on dissent, Human Rights Watch has said.

Captain Ibrahim Traore, Burkina's transitional president who came to power in a September 2022 coup, declared in April a year-long "general mobilisation" to give authorities power to requisition people from the age of 18 if needed in the fight against jihadists.

HRW said in a statement on Wednesday that the junta was using the sweeping emergency law against perceived dissidents.

Between November 4 and 5, security forces notified the group of at least 12 in writing or by telephone that they would be called up to participate in government security operations, it said.

"The Burkina Faso junta is using its emergency legislation to silence peaceful dissent and punish its critics," Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Sahel researcher at HRW, said in the statement.

On Sunday, the Burkinabe Movement for the Rights of Man and the People said the ruling Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration was "carrying out a massive and targeted requisition of citizens, by applying the general mobilisation decree".

A major conglomerate trade union, the CGT-B, also denounced the "arbitrary" requisitions and "the harassment of citizens who have expressed opinions critical of the transitional authorities".

Burkina Faso is battling a jihadist insurgency that spilled over from neighbouring Mali in 2015 and has left more than 17,000 civilians and soldiers dead and displaced two million people.

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