Nearly eight million Burkinabés are called to the polls on Sunday, November 22 to elect their president and renew their National Assembly. But in the north of the country in particular, the ballot will not be able to take place normally, due to the jihadist threat. It is estimated that one million voters will not be able to speak because of this insecurity.
franceinfo visited the town of Kaya, where those who fled their villages because of the terrorist attacks have been living for months. They are about 300,000 displaced. They all tell the same story: that of the time hands that stop. “The attack was carried out on July 25, 2020 in our village”, says Mokhtar, who closes his eyes to describe how the jihadists killed 20 people in his village. “My own grandfather fell in front of me. If we find you, we won’t leave you, you are a corpse”, he says with emotion.
In another village, north of Kaya, Amema also remembers the frozen present, her fear. Her older brother killed at nightfall, she starts running in the dark without seeing anything. Even beyond the Kaya region, this anxiety is everywhere, maintained, as Emmanuel explains to us, by unknown and mostly invisible jihadists: “We see them suddenly arriving in the villages. I lost more than 20 little brothers in the village. They came to shoot, they killed, they continue to shoot.”
“They keep hunting. I don’t know where they are. I don’t know who they are, it’s deplorable for us.”Emmanuel, villager from northern Burkina Faso
Women, men, children will carry this same helplessness in the image of a hundred schoolchildren, crossed wisely seated under a tree with their teacher. “These are children who have had difficulties in their village, so you need somehow the social to be able to understand them first, explains the teacher. There are children who have experienced impossible situations. Some even saw their parents being killed. You need special education to be able to reintegrate them into society. “
This is also one of the challenges of the presidential election, to ensure that this million displaced Burkinabés overcome the ordeals of jihadism and can finally return home.