19, January 2022
Four French soldiers were wounded in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Burkina Faso, France’s military told AFP Tuesday evening.
“(Their) off-road vehicle activated an IED as it left Ouahigouya airport,” the army said in a statement, adding the unit was part of the Barkhane operation, Paris’ deployment in the Sahel against a jihadist insurgency.
Four soldiers were wounded, including one seriously, the army said, with the group either evacuated to Mali or France for those in a more serious condition.
Burkina Faso has been struggling with jihadist attacks since 2015, when militants linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group began mounting cross-border raids from Mali.
More than 2,000 people have died, according to an AFP toll.
The flashpoint “tri-border” area is frequently targeted by Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) with deadly attacks against civilians and soldiers.
The French army has killed several high-ranking members of ISGS since the start of its military intervention in Mali in 2013.
But in June last year, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a major scaleback in the Barkhane mission to refocus on counter-terrorism operations and supporting local forces.