16 Killed in Burkina ‘Terrorist’ Attacks: Local, Security Sources

Suspected jihadists in Burkina Faso have killed 16 civilians including four army auxiliaries, sources said Thursday, adding that around 12 “terrorists” later died in an army counter-offensive.

Twelve people died and two were injured in Koulponsgo, in central-eastern Burkina on Tuesday, a resident said. A security source confirmed both the attack and toll.

On the same day, an “attack by terrorist groups left four dead in Sirasso” in the west, the security source said, adding they were all VDP civilian volunteers for the army.

Around a dozen “terrorists” were also killed in counter-operations by the troubled West African nation’s army after Tuesday’s strikes, the security source said.

The VDP, or Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland, is a civilian force that supports the military in the fight against the jihadists.

Burkina Faso is fighting a jihadist insurgency that swept in from neighboring Mali in 2015.

The latest violence follows an attack last week on a camp for internally displaced people in the north of the country which left eight people dead.

More than 17,000 civilians and troops have died in jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso, according to a count by an NGO monitor called the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).

Over two million people have also been uprooted, making it one of the worst internal displacement crises in Africa.

Anger within the Burkinabe armed forces led to a coup in January 2022, toppling elected president Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

On September 30, Kabore’s nemesis, Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, was himself overthrown in another putsch.

On Wednesday, the government claimed nearly 192,000 internally displaced people had returned to their homes after various regions were retaken by government forces.

Jihadist attacks continue unabated despite government claims to have wrested back territory.

The situation has been exacerbated after Burkina’s former colonial ruler France withdrew troops in January following tensions with the ruling junta.

Burkina has since developed closer contacts with Russia, an ally of the junta in neighboring Mali.

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