Thirty dead in a new attack in eastern Burkina Faso

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At least 30 civilians were killed Monday in the attack on a village in eastern Burkina Faso, one of the deadliest committed by suspected jihadists in that country since 2015, a week after the execution of three Europeans in the same region.

“A large number of armed individuals attacked the village of Kodyel, in the commune of Foutouri this morning, killing dozens of civilians,” a regional security source told AFP.

An official of the Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland (VDP), civilian auxiliaries engaged in the anti-jihadist fight alongside the defense and security forces, confirmed the attack, speaking of a “very heavy toll”, at least. “20 to 30 dead”.

“It is still a provisional assessment, because people have fled the village,” said a member of the VDP from the commune of Foutouri, also speaking of “about thirty dead, men and women”. He specified that there were also “about twenty wounded, including several serious”.

He said “this massacre could have been avoided” because “alerts had been given a few days ago on the presence of terrorists in the area. Some individuals had already threatened the villagers whom they accuse of denouncing them or of encouraging the volunteers who fight them ”.

“An operation to secure populations and track down these individuals was launched as soon as the alert was given by the VDPs,” said the security source.

The regional VDP official told AFP that “the attack took place early this morning while some were still in their homes. Dozens of men broke into the village and set houses on fire while others watched, they opened fire on people indiscriminately ”.

“The terrorists also injured around fifteen people, some of whom were evacuated to the Fada N’Gourma hospital center for treatment,” he added.

This attack is one of the deadliest since Burkina Faso has faced the jihadist actions that began in this country six years ago.

– Europeans “executed” -On January 1, 2019, unidentified armed individuals attacked the village of Yirgou, in northern Burkina Faso, killing six people, including the village chief, an attack immediately followed by retaliatory actions between communities. 50 dead according to the official report, more than 70 according to civil society organizations.

In November 2019, an ambush against a convoy carrying employees of a Canadian mining company in the east of the country left 37 dead and 60 injured.

Monday’s attack comes a week after an ambush against a mixed anti-poaching unit in the same region, on the Fada N’Gourma-Pama axis, following which two Spanish journalists and an Irish wildlife activist , first reported missing, had been “executed by your terrorists”, according to the Burkina authorities.

A poor country in West Africa, Burkina Faso has been plagued since 2015 by recurrent jihadist attacks, like its neighbors Mali and Niger, carried out by groups affiliated with the Islamic State or Al-Qaeda.