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(File photo) French soldiers patrol a rural area in northern Burkina Faso (File photo) French soldiers patrol a rural area in northern Burkina Faso  (AFP or licensors)

Burkina Faso: Gunmen on motorbikes kill 20 civilians

Around 20 people were killed over the weekend in Burkina Faso when gunmen on motorcycles rode into a northwestern village and started shooting civilians.

By Devin Watkins

Burkina Faso’s government said heavily-armed gunmen arrived in Lamdamol village in the northwestern Seno province late at night.

They began shooting civilians at random, killing 18 people and possibly more.

The regional governor said a newly-appointed chief nurse was among those killed in the attack. He added that security forces are still searching for the gunmen.

Violent region

Lamdamol village lies in the Sahel region, which has seen a sharp uptick in jihadist violence in recent months.

Islamist extremists have gained ground in the north of Burkina Faso and are pushing east.

This latest attack follows a similar one less than a week ago in which nearly 40 people were killed in a neighboring province.

Pope Francis recently appealed for an end to the violence in Burkina Faso, and for the promotion of interreligious dialogue and harmony.

Over 110 civilians have been killed in jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso already this year.

More French troops

The recent violence comes on the heels of France’s announcement that it would send 600 additional troops to the Sahel region to combat extremists.

The new deployments will bring the total number of French troops in the area to more than 5,000.

Over 4,000 people were killed in Africa’s restive Sahel region in the past year alone.

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03 February 2020, 16:19