Africa Headline News

Burkina Faso investigates alleged abuses by security forces

Extra-judicial killings in Burkina Faso.Photo/Africa News.

The government of Burkina Faso has opened investigations into allegations of human rights abuses by its security forces after a video surfaced on line that appeared to show the extrajudicial killing of seven children in the country’s north.

A government spokesperson Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo said in a statement on Thursday that “The conclusions of the said investigations will lead, if the facts are established, to legal proceedings against the persons responsible for these acts. “There will be no impunity for the proven perpetrators of human rights violations in Burkina Faso.”

The announcement was in response to calls from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate the video, which circulated on chat groups around mid-February.

Relatives of one of the boys, 16-year-old Adama, said he had come from feeding cows when security forces detained and later killed him.

According to rights groups and residents, since Capt. Ibrahim Traore seized power in September during the second coup, extrajudicial killings of civilians have increased and civic freedoms have shrunk.

The government’s pledge to bring perpetrators to justice marked a stark shift from its initial response to the killings captured in the video.

The country’s government have also cracked down on journalists days after French newspaper Liberation published its own story about the killings while two journalist of the newspaper were given 24 hours to leave the country.

Rights groups in the country say the government’s announcement was a step in the right direction but only if the promised investigations yield results and enhances the protection of human rights.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas