During the night from Sunday to Monday, “the civilian populations of the rural commune of Bourasso (north-west) were the target of a cowardly and barbaric attack perpetrated by armed men”, indicates a press release from the governor of the region of the Loop of Mohoun, Babo Pierre Bassinga.
“The provisional toll of this terrorist attack is 22 dead, several injured and material damage”, continues the text.
Earlier in the day, a security source had mentioned to AFP a report of “fifteen victims, men, women and children”, while a local source had mentioned “twenty” dead.
“The armed individuals first made a tour around 5:00 p.m. (GMT and local) in the village firing shots in the air. They returned later in the night and opened fire indiscriminately on the population. “, explained this resident.
According to the governor, the defense and security forces “deported to the scene and carried out combing operations”.
On Saturday, another deadly attack also took place in Namissiguima, in the province of Yatenga (north), according to another security source.
“The toll of this attack is 12 dead, including three volunteers for the defense of the homeland (VDP)”, civilian auxiliaries who fight alongside the army, said this source, also referring to waves of population displacements since sunday.
– Spiral of violence –
Like its neighbors Niger and Mali, Burkina Faso has been caught in a spiral of violence since 2015, attributed to armed jihadist movements affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which have left thousands dead and 1.9 million moved.
More than 40% of the territory is outside state control, according to official figures. The country has become the epicenter of violence in the Sahel, with more deadly attacks than in Mali or Niger in 2021, according to the NGO Acled.
At the end of January, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, accused of having been unable to stem jihadist violence, and made restoring security his “priority”.
But the security situation in Burkina has not improved, as the country is still regularly targeted by deadly attacks.
In mid-June, 86 civilians were killed by jihadists in Seytenga (north), one of the worst killings in the country’s history.
This attack prompted the authorities to create two “zones of military interest”, where “all human presence is prohibited” and where the army intends to carry out operations against the jihadists, in the north and east of the country, the regions most targeted by attacks.
The transition period, before civilians return to power, has been set at three years by the Burkinabè authorities, a period deemed necessary to try to curb jihadist attacks.