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Between Labor Migration and Forced Displacement

Wartime Mobilities in the Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire Transnational Space

Jesper Bjarnesen

Keywords: Burkina Faso; Côte d’Ivoire; displacement; emplacement; labor migration; wartime mobilities

Abstract

The significant number of involuntary returns of labor migrants to Burkina Faso is a relatively neglected aspect of the armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. Between 500,000 and 1 million Burkinabe migrants were forced to leave Côte d’Ivoire between 2000 and 2007, placing tremendous pressure on local communities in Burkina Faso to receive and integrate these mass arrivals, and causing those returning labor migrants an acute sense of displacement. Th is article analyzes the experiences of displacement and resettlement in the context of the Ivorian crisis and explores the dialectics of displacement and emplacement in the lives of involuntary labor migrant returnees; their young adult children; and Burkinabe recruits returning aft er their service in the Forces Nouvelles rebel forces in Côte d’Ivoire.

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