Burkina Faso: A dozen security officers killed as violence spirals 0

Suspected jihadists killed 13 people, most of them from the military, in the lastest such attack in Burkina Faso’s restive north, the army said Tuesday. 

Burkina Faso’s State Information Agency posted on its Facebook page that a dozen security officers and a civilian were killed Monday in Falagountou in Burkina Faso’s Sahel region during clashes between the military and jihadis.

Ten military police officers, two members of an auxiliary force supporting the army, and a civilian died as a result of a “terrorist attack on Monday” in the locality of Falangoutou, the army said in a statement.

Ten other military police officers were missing and another five wounded in the attack, the army said.

Fifteen abducted people found dead: governor

The latest attack followed a weekend of violence, when another 20 people were killed in two attacks in the country’s east-central and western regions.

Fifteen people seized by suspected jihadists in western Burkina Faso at the weekend have been found dead, the region’s governor said on Tuesday.

“Fifteen bodies were found on Monday in Linguekoro village in Comoe province,” said Colonel Jean Charles dit Yenapono Somé, governor of the Cascades region, in a statement.

Four people were executed Saturday afternoon when gunmen intercepted their van between Tenkodogo and Ouargaye villages.

On Sunday, a passenger mini-bus coming from the western city of Banfora was intercepted by armed men, said Col. Somé in a statement.

Eight women and one man were freed, the rest of the people were abducted and their lifeless bodies were found with bullet holes the following day, he said.

Armed groups, coups, fleeing civilians

Jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State Group has ravaged the West African country for years killing thousands and displacing nearly 2 million people. Nearly 5,000 civilians have been killed since 2015, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).

The violence has sowed frustration and distrust among the population and led to two coups last year. The new junta leader, Ibrahim Traoré, seized power in September promising to stem the violence but attacks are increasing.

Traoré has mobilised tens of thousands of civilian fighters to combat the jihadis alongside the army. But analysts says the civilian fighters are accused of targeting other civilians perceived to be working with the jihadis, which is fueling retaliatory attacks.

“The types of mass-atrocities that are occurring were expected, as the conflict was expected to escalate in the coming months due to the increased mobilization of the population through the (volunteer) program and the increasing trend of extrajudicial killings by defence and security forces observed in recent months,” said Héni Nsaibia, senior researcher at ACLED.

“With the increase in state violence and state-sanctioned violence, it is not surprising that militant violence is escalating and further fueling cycles of attacks and retaliation,” he said.

Source: AP