At least nine civilians were killed in twin attacks in eastern Burkina Faso, where jihadists have been gaining ground in recent months, local authorities said on Saturday, September 15.
“Two terror attacks were carried out in the villages of Diabiga and Kompienbiga” overnight in eastern Kompienga province, claiming at least eight lives, the regional governor said in a statement.
An unnamed security source told AFP that one of the attacks had targeted the home of an Islamic religious leader who was killed along with four other people.
“Five people including the leader were killed,” he said, adding that three others were injured on the attack on the house which is next to a mosque.
One of the injured later succumbed to their wounds.
Meanwhile, “three people belonging to the same family were killed and another two injured by suspected jihadists on mopeds,” according to another security source.
Surge in attacks
One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso has been battling an escalating wave of attacks over the last three years, beginning with cross-border incursions in the north of the country but now spreading to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.
A recent surge in attacks in the east is the result of pressure on jihadist insurgents in neighboring Mali and Niger.
On September 5, two Burkina Faso soldiers were killed and five others wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Kabonga in the southeastern Kompienga province. That patrol had reportedly been deployed in response to an attack on August 28 in which at least seven Burkinabe security personnel sent as reinforcements were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb en route to Pama, where a police station had come under attack.
On August 11, six people, five of them police, were killed in a “terrorist” bomb and gun attack near the Boungou gold mine near Fada N’Gourma, the main town in the region.
On June 17, a police officer was killed in the town of Comin-Yanga in a simultaneous attack on the local police and gendarmerie stations.
Security forces have carried out a series of arrests in recent months, detaining hundreds of people in connection with the attacks.
With reporting from AFP. This post was updated on September 15 to add detail from AFP’s source, and update toll.