AFRICOM reiterates US support for Burkina Faso

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, AFRICOM commander, meets with Chiefs of Defense from Liberia, Ghana, and Malawi August 13-14, 2019 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. COURTESY: TWITTER/AFRICOM

The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) stressed the importance of the United States’ continued support of international efforts to address security challenges in Burkina Faso while containing the spread of terrorism.

AFRICOM commander General Stephen Townsend on Tuesday met with President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré and other Burkinabe and allied military leaders in Ouagadougou.

General Townsend is on the second leg of a multi-country regional visit to West Africa, which began with a stop in Mali.

Townsend’s discussions with the leaders centred on establishing an inclusive understanding of the operations of the United States and partner nations in the Sahel, especially in Burkina Faso.

“We know the security challenges in Burkina Faso are significant and wide-ranging, but we are committed to helping them improve their capacity and security capabilities,” Townsend said.

Townsend maintained that those challenges needed comprehensive political, economic and military strategies to ensure positive outcomes.

AFRICOM said the trip, Townsend’s first to Burkina Faso, was vital for the commander to get a better understanding and assessment of the state of affairs in the West African nation.

Since 2015, Burkina Faso has faced a series of terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds of people and displaced hundreds of thousands others.

In the last year, however, there has been an increase in violent extremist attacks in its northern part near the border with Mali and Niger.

Earlier this month, local media reported that at least 29 people were killed in twin militant attacks in the northern Sanmatenga province.

In August, more than 20 soldiers were killed in an ambush by extremist militants, the heaviest loss for the country’s troops in its fight to defeat terrorism.

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