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Burkina Faso has announced Thursday an “exceptional recruitment” of 5,000 soldiers to serve the army “at least five years” as part of the fight against jihadism, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defense transmitted to the Africanewsguru tv.

“An exceptional recruitment of 5,000 non-commissioned soldiers for the national armed forces, to serve for at least five years in their military region of recruitment, will take place throughout the national territory,” Defence Minister Colonel Major Kassoum Coulibaly said in the statement.

The recruitment will take place from 28 February to 7 March and “concerns in priority young boys Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland (civilian auxiliaries of the army) meeting the conditions”, he added.

The young people concerned must be born between 1 January 1988 and 31 December 2003, the minister said.

Of the country’s thirteen regions, those most targeted by jihadist violence will benefit from a greater number of quotas, notably the Boucle du Mouhoun in the west (1,000), the Sahel in the north (900) and the eastern region (750).

This is the third time in less than a year that the Burkinabe army has organised such recruitment.

In April 2022, 3,000 soldiers, aged up to 26, had already been recruited. The same procedure was also launched last October.

Burkina Faso, the scene of two military coups in 2022, has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of jihadist violence that began in Mali and Niger a few years earlier and has spread beyond these borders.

In seven years, the violence has left more than 10,000 civilians and soldiers dead, according to NGOs, and some two million people internally displaced.

Captain Ibrahim Traoré, the transitional president who took power in a coup on 30 September 2022, set himself the goal of “reconquering” the 40% of Burkina Faso’s territory controlled by jihadist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Shortly after taking power, he launched a campaign to recruit volunteers for the defence of the country, who are paying a heavy price in the anti-jihadist struggle. Of the estimated 50,000 needed, 90,000 have signed up.

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