Gunmen killed at least 55 people over the weekend in northern Burkina Faso, authorities said on Monday, the latest attack in the West African country where rising violence is blamed on Islamic extremists.
Suspected militants targeted civilians in Seytenga, Seno province, Wendkouni government spokesman Joel Lionel Bilgo told a press conference. While the government has put the official toll at 55, others have put the figure much higher.
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Attacks linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group are increasing in Burkina Faso, particularly in the north. Jihadists killed at least 160 people in an attack in the town of Solhan in June 2021.
In January, mutinous soldiers overthrew the democratically elected president, promising to secure the nation, but the violence only escalated. The government asks the population to remain united in the fight against the insurgents.
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Although no group claimed responsibility for the weekend attack, analysts of the conflict say it was likely carried out by the Islamic State group.
“In recent weeks, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara has been the most aggressive group, especially in the provinces of Séno and Oudalan. In addition to attacks against security forces, civilians have also been targeted,” said Rida Lyammouri, senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, a Moroccan organization focused on economics and politics.
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“This is a blow for the security forces and it puts them in check again, indicating that they are far from being able to secure the area and protect civilians,” he said. declared.
Nearly 5,000 people have died in the past two years in Burkina Faso due to violence attributed to Islamist extremists. Another two million people have fled their homes, worsening the country’s humanitarian crisis.
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