Soldiers patrol a rural area in Burkina Faso as part of measures to curb the activities of violent religious extremists Soldiers patrol a rural area in Burkina Faso as part of measures to curb the activities of violent religious extremists 

Burkina Faso: Armed assailants kill 50 civilians

Armed assailants kill dozens of civilians in the east of Burkina Faso, a country ravaged by the violent activities of extremist Islamist groups.

By Vatican News staff writer

At least 50 civilians were killed in the Madjoari region of Burkina Faso on Wednesday during an attack by armed assailants, according to an official statement from the region’s governor.

News reports say the civilians were traveling to a town in the commune of Pama, close to the borders with Benin and Togo, when the attack happened

It is not immediately clear who was behind the 25 May attack, though swathes of the country have been overrun by violent extremist religious groups in recent years.

Insecurity in the Sahel region

Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been facing the challenge of curbing the activities of Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State (IS), as the countries in the region try to respond to a wider insurgency across the Sahel region of West Africa.

Despite joint efforts from national and regional security operatives, the violence has expanded and has intensified in the past decade, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians annually and widespread displacement of people.

The violence is now beginning to spread into coastal West African countries like Togo. Earlier this month, eight soldiers were killed and 13 others injured in what is suspected to be the first deadly raid by Islamist militants in Togo.

Wednesday attack also comes after two others this month in Madjoari. The first, on 14 May, killed 17 civilians, and the other, on 19 May, killed 11 soldiers and left several others injured.

Burkina Faso recently underwent a power change after military officers ousted president Roch Marc Christian Kabore in a coup in January, amid a deepening security crisis in the country. The new government, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, has vowed to improve security, but levels of violence still remain high.

27 May 2022, 12:08