Africom commander visits Burkina Faso


General Stephen Townsend, commander, US Africa Command, met with President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré and several other Burkinabe and allied military leaders as part of a larger West Africa regional visit on 17 September.

This was Townsend’s first trip to Burkina Faso.

Meetings focused on building a comprehensive understanding of US and partner nation activities in the Sahel, particularly in Burkina Faso, Africom said. Within the last twelve months, there has been an increase in violent extremist attacks in the northern part of the country near the tri-border with Mali and Niger. It was important for the commander to gain and increased understanding and assessment of the situation.

“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,” said Townsend. “It is important for the US to continue to support the international effort taking place in Burkina Faso while containing the spread of terrorism.”

While there, Townsend stressed that Burkina Faso’s security challenges requires a broad political, economic, as well as military initiatives to bring about positive change. He emphasized the importance of exercises such as Flintlock and how Africom provides military support to diplomatic and developmental efforts during meetings with the US embassy team in Ouagadougou.

Burkina Faso recently partnered with the Washington DC National Guard, making it the 14th state partnership in Africa. This program reflects the enduring relationship that exists between Burkina Faso and the US.

“The United States is a trusted partner standing with the government and people of Burkina Faso as they strive to create a bright future made by their own hands in the face of complex political, economic, and security challenges,” US Ambassador to Burkina Faso Andrew Young said, “Our approach focuses on strengthening the capability and capacity of all elements of Burkinabè society, government, security forces, and the people themselves as they respond to these threats.”