Burkina Faso Suspends BBC, VOA Over Coverage of Human Rights Abuse

The government of Burkina Faso has suspended the radio broadcasts of BBC Africa and the U.S-funded Voice of America (VOA) for two weeks over their coverage of a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report accusing the army of extrajudicial killings.

In a statement released by the government’s spokesperson, the authorities also said that they had ordered internet service providers to suspend access to the websites and other digital platforms of the BBC, VOA and Human Rights Watch (HRW) from Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso is one of several Sahel nations that have been struggling to contain Islamist insurgencies linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that have spread from neighbouring Mali since 2012, killing thousands and displacing millions.

Frustrations over authorities’ failure to protect civilians have contributed to two coups in Mali, two in Burkina Faso and one in Niger since 2020. The Burkinabe army has repeatedly committed mass atrocities against civilians in the name of fighting terrorism, HRW said, calling on authorities to investigate the massacres.

Similar: “Stifled Democracy;” Since 2015, 20 African countries have experienced internet shutdowns during elections

More on the Burkina Faso HRW Human Rights report
In the report based on its investigation, the watchdog said that the West African country’s military summarily executed about 223 villagers, including at least 56 children, in February as part of a campaign against civilians accused of collaborating with jihadist militants. The reported execution reportedly occurred in attacks on the villages in the northern Yatenga province.

HRW conducted its investigation after a regional prosecutor said in March that about 170 people were executed by unidentified assailants during attacks in Komsilga, Nodin and Soro. Rights groups have previously accused the military in junta-ruled Burkina Faso of attacking and killing civilians suspected of collaborating with militants in retaliatory operations.

HRW claimed that it interviewed 23 people by telephone between Feb. 28 and March 31, including witnesses to the killings, local civil society activists and international organizations. It also verified footage shared by survivors.

Witnesses said more than 100 soldiers went to the village of Nodin and the nearby village of Soro where they killed residents in retaliation for a jihadist attack on a military camp about 25 km (15 miles) away.

According to the report, the soldiers went door-to-door, ordering people out of their homes and rounding them up before opening fire, HRW said in its report, citing witnesses. Survivors and people who helped bury the bodies compiled two lists with a total of 223 victims from Nodin and Soro. Most were buried in mass graves.
“The Burkinabe army has repeatedly committed mass atrocities against civilians in the name of fighting terrorism with almost no one held to account,” HRW executive director Tirana Hassan said in the report. The watchdog also called on authorities to investigate the massacres and to do so with support from the African Union and the United Nations for independence and impartiality.

The executions coincided with a February 25 report on Burkina Faso national television about a major attack on military targets in Yatenga, one of several areas affected by violent Islamist groups active in the north of Burkina and other Sahel nations.

However, the country’s communication council said HRW’s report contains “peremptory and tendentious” declarations against the army likely to create public disorder and would suspend the programmes of the broadcasters over their coverage of the story.

TechtvNetwork https://techtvnetwork.ng

TechTV Network is a leading Technology and Business Analysis news and broadcast platform that seeks to explore the interplay between technology, productivity, entertainment and national development in the light of the growing digital economy.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours