Struggling to get a grip on the growing wave of Islamist militant attacks, authorities in Burkina Faso are planning to give weapons to civilians in the region. At least 60 people were killed in four attacks in the region, with another 20 killed in an attack in early February. It will be signed into law to arm civilians in an effort to help combat the armed groups. More than a million people have left their homes due to the significant increase in attacks linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. A couple questions have been brought up regarding the decision: Why get civilians involved? Does the measure make people safer? Or could it increase tension and violence between rival hunting and farming communities?
The government has insisted that the army is not weak, but they also “likened the future volunteers” to the members of the French resistance during Germany’s occupation of France in WWII. There are specific criteria for volunteers to be officially recruited, such as being 18 years or older. Volunteers also cannot be a part of a specific political party. They must be loyal, patriotic and have a “spirit of sacrifice.”