Burkina Faso: two terrorist attacks leave dozens of security forces dead

Burkina Faso: two terrorist attacks leave dozens of security forces dead

Unidentified gunmen have killed at least 40 people and wounded 33 others in two attacks on the army and volunteer defense forces in northern Burkina Faso only days after its military government had declared a “general mobilization” to help the state deal with mounting jihadi attacks.

The Burkinabe army said in a statement that “the death toll is 40 fighters” and added that “at least 50 terrorists” had been “neutralized” in a “response” on Saturday (15 April), notably from the air. The following day, “another attack targeted the military detachment of Kongoussi”, the army said, reporting that “two soldiers” were killed and “some twenty terrorists neutralized.”

The region is not far from the border with Mali, an area overrun by fighters linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS who have carried out repeated attacks for years. In what was one of the deadliest attacks in recent months, last week, 44 civilians were reported killed by “armed terrorist groups” in two villages in the northeast, near the Niger border.

On April 13, Burkina Faso’s military government — who came to power in September last year in a coup, the second in eight months — had declared a “general mobilization” and a “warning” to give the state “all necessary means” to deal with the string of jihadist attacks blamed on fighters affiliated with al-Qaeda and the ISIS group. These measures give the transitional government “the right to request people, goods and services” but also “the right to call for defense employment, individually or collectively.”

The West African country has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of jihadist violence that began in Mali and Niger a few years ago.

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