At least 20 people were killed in a series of raids on villages in Burkina Faso’s troubled north, security sources and local residents told AFP Friday.
Armed men attacked three villages early on Thursday in the country‘s northern Yatenga province.
“Yesterday at around 5 am (local and GMT), armed groups attacked the villages of Pelle, Zanna and Nongfaire”, a local resident said Friday, giving a toll of 25 people killed.
There were “many others injured”, the resident said.
Another resident said that “the assailants who came on motorbikes were chased by volunteers (civilian auxiliaries of the army) and soldiers”.
The attack was confirmed by a security source, who put the death toll at “around twenty” adding that search operations were underway to find the assailants.
The attackers “were hit by air support after taking refuge in the Barga forest. Several of them died,” said another security source.
Burkina Faso, which saw two military coups in 2022, has been battling a jihadist insurgency that crossed from Mali in 2015.
Captain Ibrahim Traore, Burkina’s transitional president after staging the most recent coup on September 30, has set a goal of recapturing the 40 percent of the country’s territory which is controlled by jihadists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
The violence has seen more than 10,000 killed — both civilians and military — according to the NGOs, and displaced an estimated two million people.
Earlier this week, some 20 civilians were killed in two attacks by suspected jihadists 400 kilometres further south in the Centre-Est region, bordering Togo and Ghana.