Militants kill 22 people in Burkina Faso, officials say

Attacks are on the rise on the West African nation

Police are battling extremists who killed at least 22 people in north-western Burkina Faso on Sunday. AFP.
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Attacks by extremist militants killed at least 22 people in north-western Burkina Faso and injured others, the government said on Monday.

The “cowardly and barbaric” attack occurred late Sunday in the commune of Bourasso in Kossi province, said Babo Pierre Pierre Bassinga, Governor of Boucle du Mouhoun region.

The West African nation has been overrun by violence linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS in recent years. Violence has killed thousands and displaced nearly two million people from their homes.

Mutinous soldiers ousted Burkina Faso’s democratically elected president in January promising to secure the country, but since then violence has increased and spread.

More than 530 violent incidents occurred between February and May, which was more than double the level during the same period of 2021, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.

At least 135 people were killed in 12 Islamist attacks during the first two weeks of June, an internal security report said.

In an attempt to stem the violence, last month the junta announced the creation of two military zones in the hard-hit East and Sahel regions, forcing civilians to leave their homes within two weeks and prompting concerns it would worsen the crisis of displaced people.

Analysts say the Boucle du Mouhoun region, where the attacks took place on Sunday, has become a centre for militants as violence once focused on the east and north regions has expanded west.

“The latest attack in north-western Burkina Faso is another link to the chain of uncontainable terror that’s plagued the Sahel for the past two years,” said Laith Alkhouri, chief executive of Intelonyx Intelligence Advisory, which provides analysis.

“It should urge the de facto government to act and seek international security support to stem the violence."

Updated: July 05, 2022, 5:10 AM