how Kafolo became a “jihadist supply point”

Ivory Coast: how Kafolo became a “jihadist supply point”

According to the Ivorian security services, the attack on the Kafolo military post on the night of March 28 to 29 is part of a strategy to take control of this area near the border with Burkina Faso.A little over a week after the attack on the military post of Kafolo, in the north of Côte d’Ivoire, light begins to shed on the circumstances of this assault attributed to jihadists – the second in less than one year in this area near Burkina Faso. “The jihadists’ modus operandi is the one they employ in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. They attacked from all sides in an attempt to outflank the troops, ”confides a high-ranking military source.

Hostilities started at midnight, on the night of March 28 to 29. Taking advantage of the darkness due to a power cut caused by the pouring rain that fell on the region that evening, nearly a hundred armed men, perched on about forty motorcycles, swooped down on the camp, attacking it on several fronts at the same time.

“The violence was unheard of”From the start of the engagement, the attackers – “jihadists”, according to the authorities – fired an incendiary rocket at the cantonment of the special forces, installed in the barracks. One of the men was killed. Further rocket fire fell on the fuel tank intended for refueling. A soldier resting in one of the buildings perished in the flames. “The violence was incredible. The first jihadists were shot right at the entrance to the camp, proof of their recklessness and determination, said the officer cited above on condition of anonymity. Their objective was the total destruction of the camp. ”

The attackers were finally repulsed by the Ivorian Special Forces – already present on the base – and by elements of the 1st Parachute Commando Battalion (BCP, which had been deployed to Kafolo the day after the attack perpetrated last June). According to our sources, the assault lasted only about thirty minutes, before the attackers turned back, leaving AK-47 assault rifles and an anti-personnel mine hidden in a gasoline jerrycan. Three of them were killed and ten were arrested.

“A parallel economy has rapidly developed in the region. Our advanced positioning hinders their illicit activities.

They also gave up a VHS radio, which allowed the Ivorian military to locate some of them. An airstrike was carried out by a gunship based in the nearby large city Kong, to no avail. The jihadist column fled on the Burkinabè side of the border.

Jihadism and traffickingIn the hours which followed this attack, a high-ranking Ivorian officer confided to Jeune Afrique that “the modus operandi is that of a terrorist attack” and specified that “the first clues in our possession show that they are the men of Katiba Macina. , of the Malian terrorist leader Amadou Koufa. ”

A week later, the jihadist thesis is confirmed. According to several security sources, the harassment of soldiers and gendarmes is part of a strategy to take control of this border area, site of many trafficking.

“A parallel economy has developed in the region, where we now see posh houses emerging from the ground,” continues a military source based in Kafolo. The locality has become the place of supply in logistics and food for the jihadists of Mali and Burkina Faso, who are outbidding there, and our advanced positioning hinders their illicit activities. ”

The Minister of Defense, Téné Birahima Ouattara – who was confirmed in his functions, with the rank of Minister of State, on April 6 -, and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Lassina Doumbia, surrendered on site on April 1, time to share a meal with the soldiers based in Kafolo and to take stock of the situation. Men who “knew how to face with heroism this enemy who set up perfidy in rule”, insisted General Doumbia. If nothing has yet been officially announced, the authorities, according to our sources, intend to strengthen the military system in this region.

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