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May 4-10, 2023 | Issue 13 - AFRICOM and Behavior and Leadership

Sophia Ritscher, Megan Khalife, Gabriel Helupka

Steven Jones, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor

Burkina Faso Armed Forces Soldier[1]

Date: May 4, 2023

Location: Burkina Faso

Parties involved: Burkina Faso’s transitional president Captain Ibrahim Traoré; Burkina Faso; Burkina Faso’s army “Defense and Security Forces” (FDS); Burkina Faso’s military junta “Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration;” Paramilitary auxiliaries “Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland” (VDP); Burkinabe civilians; Turkey; Russia; African Union (AU); UN; jihadist groups

The event: In a national television broadcast, Traoré criticized premature conclusions about FDS’s alleged involvement in the April 20, 2023, Karma massacre. Survivors reported that individuals supposedly wearing military uniforms and driving military vehicles committed the attack that killed at least 136 civilians. In response to the survivor accounts, Traoré stated that the army lost several armored vehicles and pickup trucks during numerous jihadist attacks, implying that jihadi groups may be responsible. Traoré further accused a "coalition against Burkina Faso"[2] of preventing the country from effectively fighting jihadi terrorism by denying the purchase of needed military equipment, resulting in the need for strategic alliances with Russia and Turkey.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Traoré will very likely continue to blame jihadi groups for the Karma massacre, likely calling for increased efforts to counter and contain jihadi violence through increased civilian-military cooperation. The FDS will almost certainly increase recruitment measures, likely continuing to cooperate with VDP’s counter-insurgency operations. United efforts between these groups will likely increase public favorability and optimism in preventing another massacre.

  • Burkinabe citizens will almost certainly call for international intervention from the UN and AU to ensure impartial and independent investigations, likely leading Traoré to cooperate with these entities to rebuild FDS’s image. The transitional government will likely create a compliance unit to oversee the army’s operations, likely assuring increased accountability. They will likely use media campaigns showcasing FDS’s capabilities to reinforce their commitment to responsibility, likely resulting in increased public trust in the army and creating unity around the government’s military objectives.

  • Traoré will very likely seek strategic alliances outside of Western powers, likely compensating for a perceived decrease in cooperation with countries conspiring against Burkina Faso. The transitional government will very likely leverage its allies’ military expertise to reclaim the territory under insurgent occupation, likely requesting military equipment, training, and tactical support. Alliances with Russia and Turkey will very likely allow for increased encroachment in Burkina Faso, very likely expanding their political reach across the region.

Date: May 7, 2023

Location: Nigeria

Parties involved: Nigeria; Nigerian youth; Presidential election tribunal at the Court of Appeals; National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Debo Ologunagba; PDP; President-elect and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Bola Tinubu; APC; APC leaders; ex-Labor Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi; LP; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

The event: At a press conference, the PDP denounced APC’s alleged attempt to influence the tribunal judgment in favor of its candidate, Tinubu. Ologunagba accused APC leaders of using substantial financial incentives to influence members of the presidential election tribunal and intimidating Nigerian youths opposed to Tinubu’s rule.[4] Obi claimed to possess evidence showing he tallied the majority of votes, despite officially finishing in third place.[5] OIongunagba denounced the INEC for alleged corruption over refusing to investigate APC’s suspected election interference despite filed petitions and widespread demands for a review of the February 2023 Presidential elections. Election experts stated that the delayed upload of voting outcomes and the heavy use of technology were unusual and increased the risk of tampered results.[6]

Analysis & Implications:

  • APC almost certainly perceives Obi’s supporters and his previous candidacy as a threat, very likely motivating them to use intimidation tactics to dissuade Nigerian youth from political engagement. APC will very likely sustain these tactics, very likely prompting young supporters to increase participation in protests and different forms of civil disobedience. This will likely benefit the LP, as they will likely gain more momentum as their progressive policies increasingly align with Nigerian youth’s aspirations for more employment opportunities and equality.

  • The court challenge will almost certainly exacerbate tensions between APC, PDP, and LP, likely increasing the demand for a more transparent electoral process, adherence to the INEC’s reforms, and call for new presidential elections. The opposition parties will almost certainly insist on further investigations into the alleged financial incentives provided by APC to the INEC. Growing scrutiny of the INEC will very likely result in decreased trust in the democratic process and negatively affect the future electoral participation of Nigerian citizens.


[2] Burkina: Traoré wants to avoid "hasty conclusions" on the Karma massacre, Africanews, May 2023,

[3] Ibid

[4] Nigeria: 2023 - PDP Raises Alarm Over Alleged Attempt to Influence Tribunal Judgement, AllAfrica, May 2023,

[5] Nigeria court hears opposition's presidential vote challenge, AfricaNews, May 2023,

[6] Nigeria: 2023 - PDP Raises Alarm Over Alleged Attempt to Influence Tribunal Judgement, AllAfrica, May 2023,



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