Moderation: Helmut Asche, Hans Peter Hahn
The Round Table will be held in French
The two francophone countries in the heart of West Africa have experienced a steady loss of control over national territories and a dramatic increase in violent events over the past 10 years. With respect to both countries, there are also widespread perceptions that local conflicts and violent events have been imported by interested parties from neighboring countries. Both countries are thus considered as victims of freely meandering violence actors in the region. The roundtable participants will address the question of what role the respective governments could play in containing and preventing violence.
In an unexpected rebellion, the population of the northern parts of Mali managed to temporarily declare an independent state of "Azawad" in 2012. In this situation, the country's government was forced to call in French troops to help regain control of its own territory. Despite changing governments and several elections between 2012 and 2020, the country still suffers from comparatively low acceptance by the people to this day. While violence has now spread to the entire territory (with the exception of Bamako), the national army and its European allies vainly strive to pacify the situation and regain administrative control. While interests of the northern neighbors as well as weapons imported from Libya are partly blamed for the long-lasting conflict, there are more and more voices that also see the government as co-responsible for the ongoing problems. The situation in Burkina Faso is different in several respects, although there, too, violence is steadily increasing and state control - especially in the northern parts of the country - is diminishing. While Mali accepted French and German troops at a very early stage, Burkina Faso pursues a strategy of fighting violence with its own forces. There is a widespread perception in Burkina Faso that violent actors are entering the country from neighboring Mali and Niger. In contrast, however, there is also an understanding that the national government is clearly not using all of its options to counter the violence. In both countries, the armies have proven incapable of protecting the population and are considered to be guilty of excessive use of military force against their own people. In both countries, the situation seems hopeless. The panel will discuss what options there are for pacification and what role the European powers could play in this.
- Justine Coulidiati-Kiélem
- Gordon Kricke
- Ornella Moderan
- Raogo Antoine Sawadogo