Burkina Faso’s security forces said on Tuesday they had destroyed two jihadist bases in the north and east of the country and arrested two suspects near the border with the Ivory Coast.
A gendarmerie unit on Saturday “dismantled a terrorist base” near the eastern town of Tanwalbougou, the armed forces chief of staff said in a weekly bulletin.
In a separate operation in the north of the country, Burkinabe troops in the five-nation G5 Sahel force, supported by a company of soldiers from Niger, destroyed a terrorist base on Saturday in a drilling zone 40 kilometers from Oursi, it said. Eight motorbikes, phones, and other equipment were seized.
Meanwhile, two “suspects” were picked up in a joint operation with Ivorian forces to secure the two countries’ 550-kilometer (340-mile) border, it said. The operation “considerably disrupted armed groups in the area,” the statement said.
The arrests near Alidougou on Saturday were made not far from where around 10 Ivorian soldiers were killed in a jihadist attack on a frontier post on June 11.
Ivory Coast said Monday it had captured the leader of the raid and arrested a “very large” number of his subordinates.
That attack was carried out by the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, an organization linked to Al-Qaeda, according to a source in Burkina Faso.
Security analysts have long worried that a jihadist revolt in the Sahel that began in Mali in 2012 is spreading towards coastal states on the Gulf of Guinea.
Burkina Faso has been the scene of jihadist attacks since 2015. The north and east of the country are the regions most affected by jihadist violence which has claimed nearly 1,000 lives and forced 860,000 people from their homes over the past five years.
Jihadist violence, often intertwined with inter-communal violence, resulted in 4,000 deaths in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso in 2019, according to the UN.