Gunmen killed six soldiers in ambushes in northern Burkina Faso, security officials said on Wednesday, adding to the death toll in the country’s insurgency.
Five troops were killed and four were wounded in an attack late on Tuesday, October 23, near the village of Guiendbila, in the Barsalogho departement of Sanmatenga Province in the Centre-Nord region, an official added.
Radio Omega reported five troops were killed and five injured.
A soldier died in a separate ambush in Sidogo, around 45 km (28 miles) southeast, another source said.
Search operations have been stepped up in the region, which have experienced a “sharp rise” in attacks in recent weeks, the source said.
Last weekend, nine civilians and five members of the security forces soldiers died in three attacks in the north.
On September 8, at least 29 civilians were killed and six wounded in two gun and IED attacks near Guendbila.
One of the poorest countries in the world, former French colony Burkina Faso lies in the heart of the sprawling, impoverished Sahel, on the southern rim of the Sahara desert.
The country has 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, and to a lesser extent, the west of the country.
In September, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that nearly 289,000 people who have been displaced Burkina Faso were living in shelters, and the International Committee of the Red Cross warned about malnutrition and famine, saying that 1.2 million people were facing food insecurity.
Most attacks are attributed to the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and to Ansar ul Islam, which emerged near the Mali border in December 2016. Since May, Islamic State has attributed insurgent activities in the Mali-Burkina Faso-Niger tri-border area to its West Africa Province affiliate, rather than to what was previously known as Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. In a June 15 ISIS propaganda video, ISWAP militants purportedly in Burkina Faso were shown reaffirming their pledge of allegiance to ISIS.
With reporting from AFP