Antonio Aragon Renuncio
"I have always loved photography and tell stories." Antonio Aragon Renuncio has been teaching photography for +17 years in several universities. Founds/Chairs Nostromo Photographers Association (Spain). Editor in Xplorer Magazine (Nicaragua). CEO Xtreme PhotoWS (Burkina Faso). Writes about Photo and publishes reportages across digital/print international media. Founds and presides the NGO OASIS. He has participated in more than 250 exhibitions around the world and won +200 prizes from: UNICEF, LBS, HIPA, Xposure, Direct Look, POYLatam, UNESCO, EPOTY, LifePressPhoto, PhotoVisa, SIPA, PX3...
Koglweogo. Defenders of Nature. Traditional Self-Defence Forces of Burkina Faso
About two decades ago in Burkina Faso lack of state security, corruption of law enforcement and rampant graft among the judiciary have led to the emergence of armed self-defence groups created mainly to fight robbers, thieves and armed assailants. These militias, popularly known in the Mossi language as "Koglweogo" (which translates to something like "Defenders of Nature"), have stepped in for law and occupy the territory where police and military forces are absent within a completely corrupt system. The Koglweogo bring traditional uniforms, antiquated weapons, unorthodox methods of interrogation, lashes, chains, machetes... extreme punishment. The 40 soldiers of the Koglweogo in Goudrin who watch over and care for more than 53,000 inhabitants of this slum outside Ouagadougou are very clear: "Those who do not like the Koglweogo are just thieves".
Members of the traditional self-defence forces of Burkina Faso, Koglweogo, patrol the savannah in search of a dangerous thief. The members of these militias are known for their unorthodox methods of interrogation: the suspects are tied to a tree trunk and whipped with whips soaked in pepper. When the guilty confess under this torture, they must pay a fine depending on the value of the stolen goods before being liberated.
Residents of the Goudrin district watch deployment of the traditional self-defence forces, the Koglweogo, during one of the many operations carried out by this militia in this populous suburb of the Burkinabe capital.
A suspected thief runs away from the Koglweogo during an operation of the militia in the Goudrin district.
Vitore, one of the members of Koglweogo, coming out of the punishment cell that this paramilitary body has at its base in the Goudrin neighborhood.
A young man who stole a mobile phone from his own sister is arrested in one of the streets of the Goudrin district. The kid, handcuffed and put on a motorcycle (a regular means of transportation with this security corps), along with two members of the Koglweogo, was taken to the base that this militia have in the neighbourhood to be imprisoned, tried and punished until he returns the item and the case is closed.
The Rasta, one of the prisoners imprisoned for robbery inside the cell that the Koglweogo have in the Goudrin district.
A member of the Koglweogo manages the crowd during an operation of this militia in a district of the capital.
An antiquated weapon and ammunition of one of the members of the Koglweogo and the keys of his motorcycle on which he goes on patrols and operations.
People taken in for various criminal acts are walked around the neighborhood, guarded by one of the members of the Koglwoego. This practice of public humiliation is common and recognized as very effective among the population, since it positively affects robbery rates and the rate of recidivism is very low.
A 16-year-old prisoner accused of stealing his sister's mobile phone moments after being punished (50 lashes with alcohol and spice-rubbed electric wires) in a cell of the Koglweogo traditional self-defense forces in one of the outlying suburbs of Ouagadougou (West Africa).
Prisoners leave their cells chained and escorted by a member of the Koglweogo to dump the urine which has been collecting in a bottle all day. This is the only time they get to breathe fresh air outside the 3 sq. m. cell with a tiny window, more than 43° Celsius and, at the moment, seven inmates.
A 16-year-old boy, a prisoner accused of stealing a mobile phone from his sister, is punished (50 lashes with alcohol and spice-coated electric cables).
Siriqui. A member of the Koglweogo of the Goudrin district argues with the sister of one of the prisoners at the militia base in one of the capital's suburbs.
A young man convicted of theft awaits his punishment (50 lashes with alcohol and spice-coated electric cables), chained in one of the cells of the Koglweogo.
A member of the Koglweogo in the Goudrin neighborhood is guarding the base of this traditional armed group and the cell full of prisoners.