Ten people were killed in a “terrorist attack” in northern Burkina Faso on Sunday, January 27, according to a security source and a local elected official.
“Around 10 armed individuals in the morning carried out a terrorist attack in the village of Sikire,” which left “10 dead and two seriously wounded,” a security source told AFP.
Sikire is in the Sahel region’s Soum province, frequently a target of jihadist attacks.
According to a local official in Arbinda, about 20 km (12 miles) away, contacted by phone from the capital Ouagadougou, “the assailants armed with Kalashnikovs made several tours of the village opening fire on the inhabitants.”
“They ransacked and set fire to shops and other businesses and took motorbikes,” added the official who requested anonymity.
He said the inhabitants had stayed holed up in their homes “in panic over these attacks which have been increasing in the area,” he said.
Gunfire was later reported in Djibo, around 100 km west of Sikire, and a curfew was imposed.
In a similar attack on January 10, 12 people were killed and two injured in Gasseliki, a village around 30 km south of Arbinda. Six shops and a granary were set on fire, and five motorcycles and “several oxen” were seized by the assailants.
One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso lies in the heart of the sprawling, impoverished Sahel, on the southern rim of the Sahara.
The country been battling an escalating wave of attacks over the last three years, beginning in the North region near the border with Mali. Attacks have spread to the East region, near the border with Togo, Benin and Niger.
Most attacks are attributed to the jihadist group Ansar ul Islam, which emerged near the Mali border in December 2016, and to the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM), which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Those groups are believed to be responsible for more than 280 deaths since 2015.
According to Infowakat, 208 people were killed in 223 security incidents in 11 of Burkina Faso’s 13 regions in 2018. More than half of the incidents occurred in the Sahel region and almost a quarter in the East region.
On December 31, Burkina Faso declared a state of emergency in provinces within seven of the country’s 13 administrative regions after 10 gendarmes were killed near the border with Mali on December 27.
Five days earlier, three soldiers were killed when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb between Fada and Kompienbiga. Four other soldiers were injured.
In the face of the increasing attacks, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore on January 9 appointed newly promoted Brigadier General Moise Miningou as armed forces chief.
Last week, Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba resigned, along with his government, according to a statement released by Kabore. Christophe Dabire was later appointed as prime minister.
On Thursday, new ministers were appointed, including Moumina Chériff Sy as defense minister, and Ousséni Compaoré as security minister.
With reporting from AFP