Ouagadougou – At least 10 civilians have been killed in an attack blamed on jihadists in northern Burkina Faso, an area in the grip of a six-year insurgency, security sources said on Sunday.
“Unidentified armed individuals carried out an attack on the village of Namssiguian in Bam province” on Saturday, a security source told AFP, adding that the provisional death toll was around 10 dead civilians.
A local resident put the provisional death toll at nine and said that significant damage had been caused to shops and businesses in the village, which had been torched.
“The terrorists stayed in the village for several hours, where they looted and destroyed,” he said, adding that the assaillants had “sabotaged the telephone antennas beforehand, making all communication impossible”.
The security source warned that the toll could still rise as “families are still awaiting news about family members”.
Burkina Faso has been struggling with jihadist attacks since 2015, when militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group began mounting cross-border raids from Mali.
More than 2 000 people have died, according to a toll compiled by AFP.
The national emergency aid agency says that 1.5 million people, nearly two-thirds of them children, were internally displaced as of November 30.
The country’s security forces are poorly equipped to face a ruthless and highly mobile foe, adept at carrying out hit-and-run raids aboard motorbikes and pickup trucks.
On November 14, a force described as numbering several hundred men attacked a police base at Inata near the Malian border, killing 57 people, including 53 gendarmes.
On December 23, 41 people were killed when a convoy of traders was ambushed near Ouahigouya, also near the Malian frontier.
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