Burkina Faso terror attack leaves 16 civilians dead

Suspected jihadists in Burkina Faso have reportedly killed 16 civilians, including four army auxiliaries, sources said on Thursday, adding that around 12 “terrorists” were said to have been neutralised in a subsequent army counter-offensive.

On Tuesday, an attack in Koulponsgo, central-eastern Burkina Faso, resulted in the death of twelve people and injuries to two others, as reported by a resident. A security source confirmed the attack and the casualty count.

On the same day, an assault by terrorist groups resulted in the deaths of four individuals in Sirasso in the western region, according to a security source.

All the victims were civilian volunteers for the army.

Approximately twelve militants were also neutralised in counter-operations conducted by the embattled West African nation’s armed forces following the attacks on Tuesday, as stated by the security source.

The VDP, which stands for Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland, is a civilian force that aids the military in its efforts to combat jihadist groups.

Burkina Faso is grappling with a jihadist insurgency that spilled over from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

The recent outbreak of violence comes after an attack last week on a camp for internally displaced people in the northern part of the country, resulting in the deaths of eight individuals.

Over 17,000 civilians and military personnel have lost their lives in Burkina Faso due to jihadist attacks, as reported by the non-governmental organisation monitor known as the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).

The ongoing conflict in Burkina Faso has resulted in the displacement of over two million people, making it one of the most severe internal displacement crises in Africa.

The Burkinabe armed forces staged a coup in January 2022, overthrowing the elected president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, amid rising internal discontent.

On September 30, Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had been a rival to President Kabore, was ousted in yet another coup.

On Wednesday, the government announced that nearly 192,000 internally displaced people had returned to their homes as government forces reclaimed control of various regions.

Jihadist attacks continue relentlessly, despite government claims of having regained control over territory.

The situation has been worsened by the withdrawal of French troops in January, following tensions with the ruling junta.

Burkina has since strengthened its ties with Russia, which is an ally of the junta in neighbouring Mali.

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