Twelve Civilians Killed in Burkina Unrest

At least 12 civilians died and six were injured in an attack by suspected jihadists in northwestern Burkina Faso, near the border with Mali, locals told AFP on Sunday.

“Several dozen men on motorbikes attacked the village of Sanakadougou” in Kossi province overnight Thursday and Friday, a resident told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Residents said at least 12 people died and six were wounded, but it was feared the toll could be higher.

“Almost the entire village was burnt down,” one witness said, adding that locals had started leaving the area from Friday.

“(Villagers) could not take anything because the attackers set fire to everything or looted and carried away the rare goods and livestock,” he added.

There were also reports of another attack by armed groups on the neighboring town of Yaran on Sunday morning.

Deadly ambushes attributed to jihadists have multiplied in recent weeks in Burkina.

This week, about 40 people, civilians or soldiers, died in various attacks while the previous week 50 were killed in several jihadist raids.

One of the world’s poorest nations, Burkina Faso has been rocked by a jihadist insurgency that spilled over from neighboring Mali in 2015.

Thousands have been killed, more than two million people have fled their homes and around 40 percent of the country lies outside government control.

Anger within the military at the mounting toll sparked two coups last year.

Burkina Faso’s ruling junta has asked French forces to leave the country by the end of the month.

Former colonial power France had special forces based in the capital Ouagadougou, but their presence had come under intense scrutiny as anti-French sentiment in the region grows.

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