Burkina Faso: Death toll rises from suspected jihadist attacks
By Francesca Merlo
The death toll over from suspected jihadist attacks in northern Burkina Faso over the weekend has risen to 34.
According to officials, in the Northwest of the country, 22 people including children were killed late Sunday at Bourasso in Kossi province.
"Armed men moved around the village at around 5:00 pm, firing in the air. They came back at night and blindly opened fire on people," a security source said.
Another 12 people had been killed in northern Burkina Faso on Saturday, in an attack at Namissiguima in Yatenga province.
Three of the dead were members of a civilian militia, the Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland (VDP) - an auxiliary force set up in December 2019 to support the army.
Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been grappling with a Islamist insurgency that swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015.
The campaign, led mainly by groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State group, has claimed thousands of lives and forced some 1.9 million people to flee their homes.
More than 40 percent of the country lies outside the control of the government, according to official figures.
Burkina Faso underwent a coup in January, when disgruntled colonels ousted elected president Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
The new strongman, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, declared security to be his top priority but after a relative lull, attacks resumed, with the loss of hundreds of lives.