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Since gaining independence in 1960, Burkina Faso has experienced instability, including several coups.1 It has also been affected by violence attributed to armed jihadist groups linked with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State militant group since 2015.2 For years, however, the country has regulated the production, possession and trade of small arms and light weapons and ammunition, which has its roots in a long tradition of domestic industry for the artisanal production of hunting rifles and pistols, as well as a dynamic private market for firearms and ammunition.3

Burkina Faso has signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Firearms Protocol.4 In 2018, the government initiated a process to review national legislation on arms control and management with the aim of  strengthening and aligning it with international instruments.5 Since 2015, Burkina Faso, in collaboration with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), has been conducting risks assessments on ammunition storage sites. MAG also organises physical security and stockpile management training. The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) provides assistance to reduce the threats posed by explosive ordnance.6 A national weapons and ammunition management baseline assessment was implemented in 2018, in cooperation with the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).7

1 "Burkina Faso Military Says It Has Seized Power," BBC News, January 24, 2022,

2 "Burkina Faso Declares Two Days of Mourning after Suspected Jihadists Kill 41," RFI News, December 26, 2021,

3 Claudio Gramizzi, The Illicit Circulation of Small Arms and Light Weapons and Their Ammunition in Burkina Faso (London: Saferworld, 2022),

Philip Alpers, Irene Pavesi and Michael Picard, Burkina Faso – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law (, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2022),

5 "Weapons and Ammunition Management Country Insight: Burkina Faso," UNIDIR, 2020,

6 "Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2022,

7 "Weapons and Ammunition Management Country Insight: Burkina Faso," UNIDIR.

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Map of Burkina Faso

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, two accidental explosions have been reported in Burkina Faso.

Table 1. Accidental explosions in Burkina Faso (1979–2021)







Bobo Dioulasso

State (military)





Non-state (private)



Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Numerous cases of diversion have been reported in Burkina Faso.

Table 2. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition and explosives in Burkina Faso





Djibo town, Soum province

Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, attacked a regiment-size military base and looted weapons and ammunition.


Northern Burkina Faso

Terrorists looted a military base and killed about 50 police officers.



A number of arms and ammunition were stolen during attacks on a military camp.



An unknown quantity of weapons was stolen from an armoury.



Police officers looted weapons from a military camp.

Sources: "ACLED Regional Overview: Africa," Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, November 3, 2022,; Henry Wilkins, "Sahel Conflict Set to Worsen in 2022: Analysts," Voice of America; Hassane Koné, "With Arms Flows from Libya Declining, Military Barracks and Poorly Controlled National Stockpiles Are Being Targeted," Institute for Security Studies, February 12, 2020,; "Burkina Faso: Compaore’s Allies Loot Armoury in Dawn Raid," The News (Nigeria), January 22, 2016,; "Burkina Faso Fires 136 Cops after Mutiny Last Year," KTAR News, May 8, 2012,


Insufficient information on the disposal of ammunition in Burkina Faso.


To further enhance safe and secure ammunition management, the following needs have been identified for Burkina Faso:

  • Development or refinement of standards and procedures on stockpile management, particularly technical, financial and material assistance; and
  • Capacity development for the destruction of surplus stockpiles, particularly technical, financial and material assistance.

Source: Burkina Faso, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Burkina Faso to the UN, 2022),

Published Date: Wednesday 20 of September 2023