Burkina Faso is facing a growing threat from Islamist militants who have been launching attacks from neighboring Mali and Niger. The country has been struggling to contain the violence, which has killed thousands of people and displaced more than a million since 2015.
To enhance its security and counter-terrorism efforts, Burkina Faso recently acquired five Bayraktar TB2 drones from Turkey, a leading manufacturer and exporter of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drone that can perform intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike missions. It can carry up to four laser-guided missiles and has a range of 150 km and an endurance of 24 hours.
Last week, using thermobaric capped versions of the MAM-L precision guided munition, Burkinabe Bayraktar TB2s decimated hundreds of terrorists from Ansaru, and Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) during an attack on Djibo military base. An army detachment in Djibo in northern Burkina Faso was the target of the attack. The Burkina Faso Information Agency said “more than 400 terrorists (were) destroyed during the counter-offensive by the Burkinabe Armed Forces against nearly 3,000 criminals who tried to seize the town of Djibo”. Also, a jihadist OTT M24 Puma MRAP was also destroyed by the TB2.
The drones were delivered to the Burkina Faso armed forces between April and May 2022, and officially commissioned in March 2023. The drones have been used in attacks against terrorist and insurgent targets, including groups of terrorists travelling on motor cycles.
The Bayraktar TB2 drones have proven to be effective in various conflicts around the world, such as in Libya, Azerbaijan, Syria and Iraq, where they have destroyed enemy tanks, air defense systems, command and control centers and other targets. The drones have also attracted many customers in Africa, such as Togo, Niger, Ethiopia, Morocco and Tunisia, who see them as a cost-effective and versatile option to develop their air power and combat capabilities.
Although, in a recent incident, a Bayraktar TB2 drone belonging to the Burkinabe Air Force crashed approximately 140 kilometers southeast of the capital city, near Tenkodogo. This unfortunate event has brought attention to Burkina Faso, which is the latest country to acquire the Bayraktar TB2 drone from Turkey in order to enhance its aerial capabilities against insurgents.
Burkina Faso hopes that the drones will help it gain an edge over the Islamist militants who have been wreaking havoc in the region. The drones will also complement the efforts of the regional and international forces, such as the G5 Sahel Joint Force and the French expeditionary operations, supporting the local governments in fighting the terrorist groups.
Turkish company Baykar has sold the Bayraktar TB2 to Togo, Djibouti, Libya, Ethiopia, Morocco, and Tunisia, while Angola has also expressed interest.
The most recent user of the Bayraktar TB2, the French-speaking West African nation of Togo acquired a shipment of Bayraktar TB2 Drone as it plans to use Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2s to monitor its northern border and to support its fighting forces.