Six police officers were killed in an ambush in the northern Burkina Faso town of Solle near the border with Mali, security sources told AFP Saturday.
“A police convoy was ambushed in Solle” late on Friday, October 5, a security source said. “The leading vehicle ran over a mine and six were killed.”
The convoy then came under gunfire and some more police were injured, the source said.
Another security source said that “at least” six police were killed, adding that a search for the attackers was underway in the area.
Burkina Faso’s National Police said in a statement posted on Facebook that a mission was struck by an improvised explosive device between Sollé and Titao in Lourum province. The explosion was followed by an exchange of gunfire.
“The provisional record of this attack reported six (06) deceased policemen and five (05) others wounded,” the statement said.
News agency AIB reported that a joint mission of police officers from Titao and the Republican Security Company (CRS) was hit by a “homemade mine” in Sollé, 45 km (28 miles) north of Lourum. Six were killed, mainly police officers, while others were injured, according to AIB sources.
The CRS is a mobile intervention force and forms a National Police reserve.
Infowakat reported that the lead vehicle of the joint convoy was hit by a roadside bomb near the village of Solle-mossi while travelling between Titao and Ouahigouya. The explosion was followed by an exchange of gunfire.
Local sources told Infowakat that that seven police officers were killed and others were injured.
Titao is the capital of Lourum Province while Ouahigouya is the capital of the Yatenga Province and is the biggest town in the Nord (North) Region.
The attack comes a day after at least five soldiers were killed in a similar attack near Gayeri in the east near the border with Niger.
Increasing frequency of attacks in northern Burkina Faso
The east of the country has seen more frequent attacks on security forces, but in recent weeks there have been a number of incidents in northern Burkina Faso, near the border with Mali.
On Wednesday night, a gendarme was killed and another injured in an attack on a security post at the Inata gold mine in Soum province. Two aircraft deployed to France’s Operation Barkhane struck a convoy of ‘terrorists’ on motorcycles nearby, officials said.
On September 23, three mine workers, a Burkinabe national, a South African, and an Indian who is reportedly the son of the man who owns the Inata mine, were kidnapped by armed men between Djibo and the mine. Three police officers were later killed during the search for the kidnapped mineworkers.
Kisal, an NGO that promotes human rights in Africa’s Sahel region, said in a Facebook post that more than a dozen people were shot dead by members of the security forces on September 23 in Petegoli, also in Soum province.
On September 26, at least eight members of the Burkina Faso security forces were killed when a roadside bomb hit their patrol vehicle on the road between Djibo and Baraboulé.
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 the 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