At least eight people were killed on Thursday near Burkina Faso’s northern border with Niger, an area notorious for jihadist attacks, a security source and local official said.
“Armed men this morning stopped a bus going from Markoye to Dorbel in Niger. At least eight people were killed and the same number were wounded,” the security source said, an account confirmed by the local official.
The attack occurred at around 8 am near Tokabangou, about 10 kilometers (six miles) from Markoye in Oudalan province.
Burkina Faso, one of the world’s poorest countries, is struggling with a jihadist insurgency that began in neighboring Mali in 2012 and spread into its territory in 2015.
More than 1,200 people have died and a million have fled their homes.
The attackers “were definitely members of terrorist groups which are teeming in the region,” the security source said. The security forces brought in reinforcements and were looking for the assailants, he said.
The other source said the vehicle was a dual-purpose truck and passenger bus. “They fired on the vehicle and killed seven people. One person was shot by the attackers while they escaped,” he said.
A resident of Markoye said the casualties were local traders who traveled each week to the market in Dorbel. “They also robbed some passengers before making off towards the Niger border,” the person said, adding that he had lost a close relative in the attack.
Two dozen traders were killed in two similar attacks in northern Burkina Faso last year.
The peril of traveling in remote regions has prompted transporters to organize convoys escorted by a government-supported auxiliary force, the Volunteers for the Defence of the Country, who are paid for the trip.
On Monday, Chad pledged at a Sahel summit to send 1,200 troops to help strengthen security in what is known as the three-border zone, where the frontiers of Burkina, Mali, and Niger converge.