Dozens of security officers were killed in the most recent attack in Burkina where violence continues to escalate
The Burkinabe State Information Agency reported on its Facebook page that twelve security officers and one civilian were killed Monday in Falagountou, in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, during fighting between the military and jihadists.
There was a “terrorist attack on Monday” in the town of Falangoutou, the army reported, killing 11 people (10 military police officers, 2 members of an auxiliary force supporting the army, and 1 civilian).
The army reported that ten additional military police officers were lost during the attack and another five were injured.
Fifteen bodies of the abducted have been found, the governor says.
The latest attack came after 20 people were killed in two separate attacks over the weekend, both in different parts of the country’s east-central and western regions.
The governor of western Burkina Faso reported on Tuesday that fifteen hostages kidnapped by suspected jihadists over the weekend had been found dead.
“Fifteen bodies were found on Monday in Linguekoro village in Comoe province,” said Colonel Jean Charles dit Yenapono Somé, governor of the Cascades region.
On Saturday afternoon, four people were killed when their van was ambushed by gunmen between the villages of Tenkodogo and Ouargaye.
Col. Somé issued a statement on Sunday saying that an armed group had stopped a passenger minibus in the outskirts of the western city of Banfora.
He said that only eight women and one man were released, while the rest of the people were kidnapped and their bodies were found the next day riddled with bullet holes.
Coups d’état, armed groups, and civilians on the run
For years, the West African country has been ravaged by jihadist violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State Group, resulting in the deaths of thousands and the displacement of nearly 2 million people. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, nearly 5,000 civilians have been killed since 2015. (ACLED).
Frustration and mistrust among the populace have been sown by the violence, which ultimately resulted in two coups in 2017. Despite the fact that new junta leader Ibrahim Traoré took power in September on the promise of ending the violence, it has only escalated since then.
Traoré has enlisted the help of the army and tens of thousands of civilian fighters in the fight against the jihadists. Insightful analysts, however, point out that the civilian fighters are being blamed for fueling retaliatory attacks by going after other civilians who are thought to be working with the jihadis.
According to ACLED senior researcher Héni Nsaibia, “the types of mass-atrocities that are occurring were expected, as the conflict was expected to escalate in the coming months due to the increased mobilisation of the population through the (volunteer) programme and the increasing trend of extrajudicial killings by defence and security forces observed in recent months.”
As he put it, “it is not surprising that militant violence is escalating and further fueling cycles of attacks and retaliation” given the rise in state violence and state-sanctioned violence.