Burkina Attack Leaves 10 Dead, Including 7 Defense Volunteers

Ten people were killed in northern Burkina Faso, seven of them members of a civilian defense force, security sources said Monday, in an attack in a region that has been repeatedly hit by jihadists.

“Unidentified armed men yesterday attacked the village of Niha-Mossi, targeting the VDP in particular,” a security source said, referring to the Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland, which supports the security forces.

“Seven VDP and three civilians were killed,” the source said, adding that there was substantial property damage.

The account was confirmed by a local VDP official, who said homes and the village market had been torched, and inhabitants had fled to the nearby town of Pensa, located in the province of Sanmatenga.

“Search operations (for the assailants) are under way with the help of volunteers from other areas and the defense and security forces,” he said.

A landlocked state in the heart of the Sahel region, Burkina Faso is struggling with a jihadist insurgency that has claimed more than 1,500 lives and forced 1.5 million people from their homes since 2015.

In December 2019, the government established the VDP to provide support for the beleaguered army.

Volunteers are given two weeks’ military training, and then work alongside the security forces, typically carrying out surveillance, information-gathering, or escort duties. But losses have been extremely high. According to an AFP tally, more than 200 have died.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who is also defense minister, held meetings with military representatives of all ranks last Friday and Saturday to discuss the country’s security problems.

In June, between 132 and 160 people were massacred in the northern village of Solhan, the bloodiest single-day attack in the history of the insurgency, prompting a wave of public anger. Several hundred women protested on Saturday in the northern town of Dori.


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