Three troops and nine civilian auxiliary personnel have been killed in northern Burkina Faso by suspected militants, local and security officials reported on Friday.
The two attacks took place on Thursday in the Bourzanga neighborhood, according to a security source and a VDP auxiliary force official.
A violent insurrection that has lasted seven years and displaced around two million people from their homes is being fought by the landlocked Sahel state.
Official statistics show that the government no longer has control over more than 40% of the nation.
In January, troops launched a coup and promised to reestablish security. Attacks continued after a break, but in recent months they have intensified.
One of the worst incidents of the protracted insurgency occurred on June 11 at Seytenga in the northwest, where 86 people were murdered.
On July 2 and 3, 34 locals were killed in the north and northwest. Attacks on the security forces have primarily been directed against the VDP, or Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland.
The force was established in December 2019 and is made up of citizen volunteers who through a two-week military training program before joining the army to perform tasks including surveillance, information collection, and escorting.
In the most recent attack, the VDP source reported that “several attackers were also killed,” adding that “six militiamen were killed at the village of Alga and three at Boulounga.”
The government established two “zones of military interest” in the most severely affected areas in the north and east in response to the Seytenga attack.
To provide the military forces more freedom to strike insurgents, it is intended to create areas where civilians are prohibited.
However, the army acknowledged on Wednesday that an airstrike in the east had resulted in the deaths of civilians. It did not provide a death toll, but locals reported that roughly 30 people had perished, the majority of whom were women who had gone to rituals to start a mill.
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