The funeral of 27 soldiers slain in an ambush last month that sparked the nation’s second revolution this year was attended by thousands of mourners in Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday. The coup was led by a military unit tired of the country’s pervasive insecurity.
The soldiers’ photos who died on September 26 while guarding a convoy that was bringing supplies to a northern town under siege by terrorists were placed on either side of the coffins, which were draped in the Burkina Faso flag.
“People are saddened and sickened by the situation we are experiencing. It really hurts the heart to see young people in their prime leaving,” said Abdoul Fatao Bangue, a friend of one of the soldiers.
In the impoverished West African nation, where extremists affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have slaughtered thousands of people in raids on rural towns since 2015, tributes to dead soldiers have become a common occurrence.
Insurgents have recently blockaded areas of the parched north, leaving thousands of people with severe food shortages.
President Paul-Henri Damiba was overthrown by troops on September 30, four days after the attack, and promised increased security. The soldiers were headed by Captain Ibrahim Traore. In January, Damiba conducted his own coup and made a similar promise, but the attacks persisted.
The town that the convoy was attempting to reach on September 26th, Djibo, is only one of the many challenges Traore must overcome. It has grown to be a stark illustration of how the government has lost control in the north and of the cost borne by innocent bystanders.
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