Burkina Faso armed forces conduct air strikes, clearing operations near Pama and Gayeri

Burkina Faso’s armed forces conducted air strikes and clearance operations in the Pama and Gayeri areas in the country’s east, the Chief of the General Staff said in a release.

“As a result of reliable intelligence, the National Armed Forces conducted air strikes and clearance operations in the Pama and Gayeri areas,” the Sunday, September 16 release said.

“These combined operations destroyed terrorist bases,” the release added, giving no further details.

The Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces thanked the population of eastern Burkina Faso for their cooperation and praised the commitment and determination of the units on the ground, and said that “only the involvement of all will overcome the terrorist threat.”

The release did not specify which aircraft conducted the strikes, but the Burkina Faso Air Force (FABF) has strike aircraft and helicopters in its inventory.

The FABF received three Embraer Super Tucano light attack aircraft in 2011, making Burkina Faso the first African nation to operate the type. It also reportedly operates two Russian-designed Mi-35 large attack helicopters.

Update September 25 Burkina Faso military sources told Jane’s that Super Tucanos were used in the strikes.

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, Benin and Niger.

A recent surge in attacks in the east is the result of pressure on jihadist insurgents in neighboring Mali and Niger.

Around 30 people have been killed in recent weeks in several attacks in eastern Burkina Faso, including Pama and Gayéri, according to the AIB news agency.

On September 8, President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré said the armed forces would “resume the initiative” throughout Burkina Faso, particularly in the east and north.

Pama is the largest town in Kompienga province, and Gayéri the largest in Komondjari province. Fada N’Gourma in Gourma province is the largest town in the region.

On September 15, at least nine civilians were killed in twin attacks in Kompienga province.

On September 5, two Burkina Faso soldiers were killed and five others wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Kabonga in 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.

Security forces have carried out a series of arrests in recent months, detaining hundreds of people in connection with the attacks.

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