Reports of Skirmish Between Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso Troops on Border

At approximately 1540 EST, initial reports indicated that a border skirmish erupted between the Burkina Faso military and the Ivory Coast. Initially, AES Info reported that an Ivory Coast Mi-24 attack helicopter had engaged Burkina Faso troops “on the border area.” They reported:

“According to available information, the Ivorian helicopter, on patrol in the Helintira border area, opened fire without warning on a company of the Burkinabè FDS.”

By 1630 EST, Wamaps, a West African blog reported that earlier in the morning, one Burkina Faso Armed Forces (FDS) and one Burkina Faso Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP) member were arrested in the market area of Dantou, on the Ivory Coast side of the border. However, a group of about 100 FDS members showed up later in the morning on motorbikes and brandishing weapons. In response to that force, the Ivory Coast helicopter was deployed. It is not currently clear if the Mi-24 actually fired on the FDS company or if there are any casualties.

The Ivory Coast Air Force is reported to only have one Mi-24 in its entire inventory, along with one Mi-8 utility helicopter. However, there have been reports that its Air Force has been bolstered by Israeli-brokered deals for up to (5) Mi-24s. Either way, the deployment of such a low-density type/model/series by the Ivory Coast is significant.