A Burkina Faso Defense and Security Forces vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb near Gayeri in the east near the border with Niger early on Thursday, October 4 killing at least five soldiers and injuring another, according to reports.
The vehicles were traveling from Fada N’Gourma to Foutouri, Infowakat reported, saying that six soldiers were killed.
The AIB news agency reported that at least five soldiers were killed when their vehicle was struck by a “mine” in Bartibougou, 45 km (28 miles) from Gayeri, adding that three attackers were “neutralized.”
A source told AFP that the vehicle was travelling between Gayeri and Foutouri, and that “six soldiers were killed and several others were seriously injured.” Another source said three people were in a “critical condition” and were being evacuated to the capital Ouagadougou.
The attack comes after a gendarme was killed and another injured in an overnight attack on a security post at the Inata gold mine in Soum province in northern Burkina Faso.
The east of the country has been hit with an upsurge in violence, with improvised explosive device attacks on vehicles becoming increasingly frequent in Gourma and Kompienga provinces, although Thursday’s attack is reportedly the first improvised explosive device attack carried out in Komondjari province.
The armed forces said on September 16 that it had conducted air strikes and clearing operations near Pama and Gayeri, without specifying when.
On September 15, at least nine civilians were killed in twin attacks in Diabiga and Kompienbiga in Kompienga province.
Ten days earlier, 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.
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.
Security forces have carried out a series of arrests in recent months, detaining hundreds of people in connection with the attacks.
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said last month that additional security measures would shortly be unveiled to “resume the initiative” throughout Burkina Faso “to eradicate the curse of terrorism,” particularly in the east and north.
But a recent surge in attacks in the east of the country is said by experts to be the result of pressure on jihadist insurgents in neighboring Mali and Niger.
With reporting from AFP. This post was updated on October 4.