Burkina Faso: How Jafar Dicko, leader of Ansarul Islam, rose to power

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Wednesday, 20 July 2022 17:44

The Burkinabe army, on the road to Gorgadji, 3 March 2019. © Luc Gnago/REUTERS

Malam Dicko’s successor Jafar Dicko, a radical preacher and founder of Ansarul Islam, has become the leading figure in local terrorism. And therefore, one of the principal targets of the Burkinabe security services.

Better known as Yéro, the Burkinabe security services have said the man is brutal and uncharismatic. Knowing that he is actively wanted, 50-year-old Jafar Dicko travels frequently between central Mali and northern Burkina Faso, particularly in the Djibo area.

Born in Pétéga, in the commune of Nassoumbou (Soum province), he studied the Koran and learned Arabic. “Jafar Dicko is versatile and known to be violent,” says a Burkinabe security source. But the new authorities admit that he is not the only reason for the upsurge in jihadist violence in the country in recent months.

Large sums of money

They also lay some blame with the failed negotiations initiated by Roch Marc Christian Kaboré’s deposed regime. These talks – which were supervised by the National Intelligence Agency, headed at the time by Colonel Major François Ouédraogo – had led to a truce that allowed the 2020 presidential election to be held.

In return, Yéro and his terrorist movement, according to several security sources, received large sums of money from the former government, the amount of which has not been disclosed. In fact, this allowed local terrorist groups to reorganise and recruit new fighters, each receiving between 300,000 and 750,000 CFA francs.

According to our information, Dicko also enjoys Iyad Ag Ghaly’s support, which allows him to make his own decisions and plan operations. The Malian jihadist leader planned to use him as a pawn to diminish the growing influence of another leader, Amadou Koufa.

The latter, who was born in 1961 and is a member of the Ghaly-led Groupe de Soutien à l’Islam et aux Musulmans (GSIM), is the leader of the Katiba Macina, which was intially affiliated with Ansar Dine, before it joined forces with the GSIM.

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