JA DECRYPTION – Ibrahim Traoré has clearly announced it: he has taken power to wage war on the jihadist groups that are plaguing his country. To achieve his ends, the 34-year-old captain, officially invested as president of the transition until 2024, took a spectacular step (and decried by some): the recruitment of 50,000 volunteers for the defense of the homeland (VDP) . These civilian auxiliaries must, according to the authorities, ” to reinforce the ranks of the army in the context of the fight against terrorism”.
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The announcement of this massive recruitment was made on October 24 and 25 by the commander of the Patriotic Watch and Defense Brigade (BVDP), Colonel Boukaré Zoungrana, since appointed Minister of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Security. But it raises many questions, especially about its implementation. Young Africa make the point.
1- Who are the VDPs?
Volunteers for the defense of the homeland are civilian auxiliaries of the Burkinabè defense and security forces. Their status is defined by the law of January 21, 2020, adopted by the National Assembly when Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was in power.
According to this text, the VDP “is a natural person of Burkinabe nationality, auxiliary to the defense and security forces, voluntarily serving the interests safe of his village or sector of residence, under a contract signed between the volunteer and the State”. His mission “is to contribute, if necessary by force of arms, to the defense and protection of the people and property of his village or his sector of residence”. Also according to this law, he “must obey the military authority” and “is compelled to collaborate with the other defense and security forces”.
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Since their official deployment in early 2020, the VDPs have often been on the front line against jihadist groups attacking the country. No official toll exists, but many have already been killed. Among them, personalities known and respected for their patriotic commitment, such as Ladji Yoro, a VDP leader from the Ouahigouya region whose death caused a national stir in December 2021.