Gunmen Kill 10 Civilians in Northern Burkina Faso

Burkinabe soldiers perform casualty carry under notional fire in preparation for participating in Exercise Flintlock 2019, near Po, Burkina Faso, Feb. 17, 2019. Flintlock is an annual African-led, integrated military and law enforcement exercise that has strengthened key partner nation forces throughout North and West Africa as well as western special operations forces since 2005. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mary S. Katzenberger)

At least 10 people have been killed in suspected jihadist attacks on villages in northern Burkina Faso.

According to security sources and local officials, Unidentified armed men carried out a series of attacks on Wednesday evening in the north, claiming about 10 lives.

A regional official with the VDP volunteer self-defence force confirmed the attacks occurred in Burkina’s Sahel administrative region, hitting the villages of Badnoogo, Bassian, Tokabangou, and Gadba near the Niger border, and the district of Pensa in the center-north region.

Properties were set on fire during the attack, a resident disclosed to Journalists

“Several bodies were recovered,” said the member of the VDP, which fights jihadists alongside the Burkinabe defence and security forces. One VDP member was among the victims, he added.

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Burkina Faso, a landlocked and arid Sahel nation, has been battling attacks since 2015 from forces that include the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS).

More than 1,500 people have died and more than 1.3 million have fled their homes.

Anger has been high since scores of people were killed in June in the village of Solhan, Burkina’s highest single-day toll in the history of the insurgency.

Armed men, including “young people aged 12 to 14,” killed at least 132 people. Local sources said the toll was 160, including many children.

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The government established the VDP in December 2019 to provide support for the beleaguered army.

Volunteers are given two weeks’ military training and then work alongside the security forces, typically carrying out surveillance, information-gathering, or escort duties.

But losses have been extremely high. More than 200 have died so far.

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