UNODC trains close to 100 Burkinabe officers on the Police Component of the G5 Sahel Joint Force

Funded by the Government of Germany

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized a training activity from 11 to 15 March 2019 in Ouagadougou during which close to 100 participants were trained on the concept of the Police Component of the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The Police Component's objective is to reinforce the judicialization of military operations carried out by the Joint Force and to ensure the respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism. 

The G5 Sahel Joint Force, created in February 2017 by Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, is mandated to fight terrorism and transnational organized crime in the Sahel. In November 2017, the G5 Sahel requested assistance from UNODC for support in establishing and operationalizing the Police Component with the goal of allowing the Joint Force to properly fulfill its mission while carrying out transparent, effective, and responsible judicial procedures. The Police Component consists of a Gendarmerie provost brigade and an investigations unit in each of the five countries. 

   Zones of operation of the Joint Force (after the attack in Sévaré, HQ is now in Bamako)
Zones of operation of the Joint Force (after the attack in Sévaré, HQ is now in Bamako)

Over the course of five days, around 100 actors both directly and indirectly implicated in the Police Component of Burkina Faso took part in a national training activity to better understand its role in the national, regional and international security structure. During the activity, the Police Advisor of the Joint Force explained the concept and missions underlying the Police Component, Nigerien experts had the opportunity to share good practices from Niger in the fight against terrorism, and Burkinabe representatives elaborated on the national judicial framework in their country. The links between the Police Component and the Security Cooperation Platform (PCMS) were also discussed. Finally, questions concerning the integration of the respect for human rights in the implementation of the Joint Force's operations were addressed. 

This activity assembled the entire Burkinabe criminal justice chain: senior military officers, specifically the Commander of the Burkinabe battalion of the G5 Sahel and his deputy, provosts brigade, officers of Burkina Faso's special investigations unit ( Brigade Spéciale des Investigations Antiterroristes - BSIAT), magistrates from the Burkinabe specialized counterterrorism judicial unit (PJS), and members of the penitentiary administration. As a result of the wide variety of actors represented, the participants were able to understand the direct and indirect roles they play in carrying out the Police Component's mission, as conceptualized by the Member States of the G5 Sahel as well as the importance of collaboration between them. 

Based on their exchanges, participants proposed recommendations to Burkinabe authorities as well as international partners regarding the current challenges that they face in their missions. These recommendations, calling for the reorganization of the BSIAT and the PJS, were presented to the highest authorities of the state. Additionally, the Commander of the Burkinabe military battalion of the G5 Sahel invited the deputy prosecutor on counterterrorism to escort him to the zone of operation in the North of the country so that he could gather elements for his judicial files, representing another major result of this activity. 

"I would like to sincerely thank UNODC for their unrelenting support towards the operationalization of the Police Component of the Joint Force. Your commitment to work alongside the G5 is a testimony to your vision of a peaceful and united Sahel" recounted the Minister of Security of Burkina Faso, Mr. Ousséni Compaoré, during the closing ceremony. 

Delegations from the European Union, EUCAP Niger and Mali, the German development agency, GIZ, Denmark, the United States, Germany and France were also represented. 

This constitutes the third national training activity on the Police Component organized by UNODC and the G5 Sahel. This activity first took place in Chad in November 2018 followed by Mauritania in December 2018.

UNODC's assistance to the Police Component has allowed for concrete and notable results in the G5 Sahel States. In less than one year, Niger opened a forward operating post of the Police Component closest to the operational theater, Chad and Mauritania signed a decree to create an investigations unit and Burkina Faso initiated the institutionalization of its special brigade into counterterrorism investigations. 

This assistance is made possible thanks to German financial support. It is implemented in the framework of the UNODC Sahel Programme in collaboration with the Permanent Secretariat of the G5 Sahel as well as other partners, including the European Union, INTERPOL, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).  

UNODC's work alongside the G5 Sahel and its beneficiaries is also in line with the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, contributing, in particular, to Goal 16 that aims to, "Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels."

For more information:

Police Component training activity in Chad in November 2018

UNODC Contribution to the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel

UNODC Sahel Programme

United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel