At least six people including two militiamen who back up anti-jihadist security forces in Burkina Faso were killed in an attack in the north of the country, a local elected official said Tuesday.
Requesting anonymity, the official told AFP that late Monday around 100 gunmen attacked the village of Loumbila, some 35 kilometers (20 miles) from Ouahigouya, the capital of the Nord region bordering Mali.
He said six people had been killed “including two volunteers” and three were wounded, including one seriously.
The assailants attacked a health center and the local market and torched several sites, he said, adding that they made off with goods including food and motorbikes.
A security source, offering a “provisional toll” of six dead, said reinforcements had been sent to the region after reports of “violent fighting.”
A local official of the Volunteers for the Defence of the Motherland (VDP) confirmed the loss of “two elements.”
The anti-jihadist militia, set up in November 2019, is intended to buttress the country’s poorly equipped and trained armed forces.
Civilian volunteers with the VDP receive 14 days’ training and are then sent out on patrols and surveillance missions, equipped with light arms.
More than 100 volunteer fighters have been killed in combat since January 2020.
Monday’s attack came just a week after President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was sworn in for a second term, vowing to make security his priority.
Kabore acknowledged the scale of damage wrought by jihadists, who extended their campaign from neighboring Mali in 2015.
At least 1,200 people have been killed and a million of Burkina’s population of 20.5 million have fled their homes. Swathes of the country are out of the government’s control.
Monday’s attack in Burkina Faso followed a civilian massacre in neighboring Niger on Saturday that left around 100 dead.