October 3, 2022

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (AFP) – Attacks by militants have killed at least 22 people in northwestern Burkina Faso, the government said on Monday.

The “cowardly and barbaric” attack occurred late on Sunday in the town of Burasso, Kosi state, Babu Pierre Pierre Basinga, governor of Boucle de Mohon, said in a statement.

The West African country has been gripped by jihadist violence linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group in recent years. The violence claimed thousands of lives and displaced nearly two million people from their homes.

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

More than 530 violent incidents occurred between February and May, more than double the level during the same period in 2021, according to the Incident Data Project and Armed Conflict Website.

At least 135 people were killed in 12 jihadist attacks during the first two weeks of June, according to a Homeland Security report for aid workers seen by the Associated Press.

In an effort to stem the violence, the military council announced last month the establishment of two military zones in the hardest-hit East and Sahel regions, forcing civilians to leave their homes within two weeks and raising fears it could exacerbate the displacement crisis.

Analysts say the Boucles-de-Mouhon region, where the attacks took place on Sunday, has become a center for militants, with the spread of violence that previously focused on the east and northwest regions.

“The recent attack in northwestern Burkina Faso is yet another link in the chain of uncontrollable terrorism that has plagued the Sahel region for the past two years,” said Laith El Khoury, CEO of Intelonyx Intelligence Advisory, which provides intelligence analysis. He said: “It should urge the de-facto government to move and seek international security support to stop the violence.”

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Mednic reported from Madrid, Spain.

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