Conflicts & War

Civilian death toll in Burkina Faso extremist attack rises to 59

Ouagadougou, Aug 20 (EFE).- Fatalities in the Wednesday Jihadist attack in northern Burkina Faso, in the Sahel region, rose to 59, according to the country’s authorities.

A total of 52 men and seven women were killed in the attack against a convoy of military vehicles and the civilians traveling between the towns of Gorgadji and Arbinda, according to a Wednesday night statement by the country’s Communication Ministry.

Deaths rose to six among the Volunteers for the Defense of the Motherland, civilians who participate in the fight against Jihadist groups in collaboration with the Armed Forces and whose mission is to monitor their locality and collect useful information in case of an attack.

In the attack, 15 soldiers lost their lives and at least 80 extremists were killed, according to a Wednesday night statement by the Burkina Faso National Gendarmerie (a police force in the country with a military nature).

The total number of victims of the attack, including the military and civilians but not counting extremists, amounts to 80.

According to the Burkina Information Agency, the convoy, which included 80 military vehicles and occupied about 600 meters, was attacked Wednesday at about noon in an ambush that lasted about four hours.

The country’s president, Roch Kabore, decreed Wednesday three days of national mourning, in memory of attack victims.

Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, Burkina Faso has repeatedly suffered from Jihadist violence since April 2015, when members of an al-Qaeda-affiliated group abducted a Romanian security guard from a mine in Tambao (north), who remains missing.

The country suffered the worst massacre in its recent history on the night of Jun. 4, with the death of at least 160 people in an attack perpetrated by a group affiliated with Al Qaeda against the town of Solhan, in the Sahel.

The Sahel, which shares a border with Mali and Niger, is the area most affected by insecurity, although the conflict has also spread to neighboring provinces, such as the Central-North region, and to the east of the country.

Attacks are often attributed to the Burkinabe local group Ansarul Islam, the Al Qaeda-affiliated Group for Islam and Muslims Support, and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, which are also attacking in neighboring Mali and Niger.

Last week the first trial session for acts of terrorism was held since the beginning of Jihadist violence in the country, where five combatants were sentenced to terms of between 10 years and 21 years in prison.

Violence in Burkina Faso has caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in which more than 1.3 million people have fled their homes since 2019, when internally displaced people already numbered more than 136,000, according to official data. EFE


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