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ConflictsBurkina Faso

Burkina Faso: 170 people 'executed' in attacks on villages

March 3, 2024

Burkina Faso has been battling Islamist insurgent groups for several years. A number of other deadly attacks took place around the country on the same day.

Burkina Faso soldiers
Burkina Faso's military leader Ibrahim Traore ordered French troops out of the country last year and has instead turned to Russia to help tackle jihadi insurgentsImage: AFP

Around 170 people were "executed" in attacks on three villages in northern Burkina Faso a week ago, a regional prosecutor said on Sunday.

Ouahigouya prosecutor Aly Benjamin Coulibaly said he had received reports of attacks that happened on February 25 in the villages of Komsilga, Nodin and Soroe in Yatenga province.

Survivors of the attacks told the AFP news agency that dozens of women and young children were among the victims.

Many others were left wounded, Coulibaly added.

He said his office ordered an investigation and appealed to the public for information.

'Coordinated' attacks around the country

There were a number of other incidents on the same day as the Yatenga attacks, according to security sources. Some 29 people were killed in separate attacks at a mosque in Natiaboani and a church in Essakane, while insurgents also attacked a military detachment in Tankoualou and a rapid response battalion in Kongoussi in the north.

Security Minister Mahamadou Sana described the wave of attacks as "coordinated."

"This change in the enemy's tactical approach is because terrorist bases have been destroyed as well as training camps and actions were carried out to dry up the enemy's source of financing, as well as its supply corridors," he said.

Burkina Faso has been grappling with a jihadi insurgency from numerous rebel groups affiliated with the likes of al-Qaida and the so-called "Islamic State" group since 2015.

More than 20,000 people have been killed in the violence and more than two million have been displaced in what is one of the world's poorest countries.

Anger at the state's inability to end the insecurity played a major role in two military coups in 2022. Current strongman Ibrahim Traore has made the fight against rebel groups a priority and ordered French troops out of the country while strengthing ties with Russia.

zc/nm (AFP, dpa)