At least seven people, including four volunteers in an anti-jihadist militia, have been killed in the fifth attack to strike northern Burkina Faso in under a week, security sources said Tuesday.
“Armed men on Monday morning attacked a (water) drilling site at Tonri Oulo” in Soum province, one source told AFP.
“While sabotaging the installation, they shot dead three civilians and wounded three others. Four members of the VDP (Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland) who tried to counter the attackers were also killed,” the source added.
A local official confirmed the attack, putting the toll at about 10 casualties, seven of whom had died.
“Two other drilling sites were sabotaged by the terrorists,” the source said.
“A few weeks ago, they sabotaged mobile phone installations and now they are trying to choke the town by cutting off supplies.”
Analysts say they have seen a shift in recent weeks by jihadist groups operating in Burkina’s troubled north and east.
“It consists of isolating strategic towns by cutting off access roads and communications,” Mahamoudou Sawadogo, a specialist on security in the Sahel, told AFP.
Last week, 23 civilians and 13 gendarmes died in four attacks around Dori, one of the biggest towns in the northeast.
It was the bloodiest series of attacks since a military junta, headed by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, took power in January.
Disgruntled officers toppled elected president Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who had been facing protests over his handling of the bloody jihadist insurgency.
Violence led by groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State group has killed more than 2,000 people and displaced at least 1.7 million, according to an AFP tally.
In January alone, 160,000 fled their homes, a group of international charities said last Thursday.