UNODC provides non-lethal counter-terrorism equipment to Burkina Faso


Non-lethal law enforcement equipment and material such as cameras, telephones and drug testing kits were handed over to authorities in Burkina Faso by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to support national counterterrorism efforts as part of UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, which  strives to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. 

The landlocked country is part of the G5 Sahel block of countries across West and Central Africa fighting violent extremist organizations including armed militant and Islamic State- and Al-Qaeda-aligned groups as well as criminal gangs.  

These groups control territory and conduct complex attacks in northern Burkina Faso against state and civilian targets.  In 2019 some 1,295 civilians were killed against 173 in 2018, according to ACLED. Whilst the latest figures show that in February 2020 the number of displaced people has risen to over 760,000 people (UNHCR).

UNODC held a ceremony for the partial handover of the equipment on 7th February 2020, which also included equipment for a simulation room, printers, laptops, projectors and dictaphones. Further equipment including vehicles, radios and protective equipment will be handed over in the coming months. 

 Non-lethal equipment handed over to support national counterterrorism efforts

Results have already been achieved thanks to the equipment so far received according to the Special Brigade for Counter-Terrorism Investigations and the Fight against Organized Crime (BSIAT). "This handover of equipment has facilitated the work of investigators to detect terrorist networks and thus limit some of their actions. The equipment has made it possible to wrap up cases already under investigation or inquiry," said an officer.

Launched in March 2019 and due to be completed by September 2020, the project aims to strengthen Burkina Faso's capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and transnational crime by providing technical and operational assistance and equipment to the security forces - as part of the UNODC Sahel Programme that works to strengthen the accessibility, effectiveness and accountability of criminal justice systems.

Clément Wango (left), Directeur de Cabinet, Ministry of Security of Burkina Faso receives a drug test kit from Nils Wortmann (right), Chargé d'Affaires, German Embassy in Burkina Faso, with Baddredine El Harti (middle), Special SSR Advisor to the Presidency of Burkina Faso, United Nations 

The 18-month project worth €1.8 million implemented by UNODC is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany. The equipment will support the operationalisation of the Police Component of the G5 Sahel Joint Force in Burkina Faso that includes the BSIAT and the Provost Marshal's Gendarmerie Brigade.  

Workshops on integrity enhancement, the use of drug and precursor kits and forensics have also been planned.

The Sahel Programme closely coordinates its assistance with United Nations agencies and other technical and financial partners such as the European Union, GIZ and INTERPOL.  The equipment provided comes at the request of the Ministers of Security and of Defense following a meeting in May 2019 with UNODC representatives.

For more information:

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

- Sahel Programme