At least 480 civilians were killed in jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso between May and August, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said on Monday.
Suspected jihadists killed at least three gendarmes in eastern Burkina Faso Sunday and several more officers are missing, security sources and local officials said.
“An escort team of the gendarmerie has been the target of an ambush during which three of their number lost their lives,” a security source told AFP.
© 2020 Lauren Seibert/Human Rights Watch
Two members of Ansaroul Islam, an armed Islamist group in Burkina Faso, were recently sentenced to 20 years in prison for a 2018 attack on a primary school. Victims of the attack welcomed the verdict, which provided some rare accountability for attacks on education. But the proceedings were marked by more than three years of pre-trial detention, and trial observers indicated the defendants were not informed in court of their right to legal counsel under the law. As governments work to eradicate violence against education, accountability should not come at the cost of fair justice.
Saturday, August 21, is the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, a day that is unfortunately relevant in Burkina Faso which is engaged in fighting Islamist militants. One Burkinabe nonprofit, Go Paga, is helping widows and orphans grappling with the loss of husbands and fathers to rebuild their lives.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Burkina Faso, demanding a stronger response to rising bloodshed after a massacre last month killed more than 130 people.
Some had travelled hundreds of kilometres to attend the opposition-led demonstration in the capital, Ouagadougou, where protesters waved the red and green Burkinabe flag and blew whistles on Saturday.
Opposition supporters attend a protest to denounce the government’s handling of the security situation [Reuters]
© 2021 OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT/AFP via Getty Images
At least six people including two militiamen who back up anti-jihadist security forces in Burkina Faso were killed in an attack in the north of the country, a local elected official said Tuesday.
Requesting anonymity, the official told AFP that late Monday around 100 gunmen attacked the village of Loumbila, some 35 kilometers (20 miles) from Ouahigouya, the capital of the Nord region bordering Mali.
He said six people had been killed “including two volunteers” and three were wounded, including one seriously.
The assailants attacked a health center and the local market and torched several sites, he said, adding that they made off with goods including food and motorbikes.
A security source, offering a “provisional toll” of six dead, said reinforcements had been sent to the region after reports of “violent fighting.”
A local official of the Volunteers for the Defence of the Motherland (VDP) confirmed the loss of “two elements.”
The anti-jihadist militia, set up in November 2019, is intended to buttress the country’s poorly equipped and trained armed forces.
Civilian volunteers with the VDP receive 14 days’ training and are then sent out on patrols and surveillance missions, equipped with light arms.
More than 100 volunteer fighters have been killed in combat since January 2020.
Monday’s attack came just a week after President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was sworn in for a second term, vowing to make security his priority.
Kabore acknowledged the scale of damage wrought by jihadists, who extended their campaign from neighboring Mali in 2015.
At least 1,200 people have been killed and a million of Burkina’s population of 20.5 million have fled their homes. Swathes of the country are out of the government’s control.
Monday’s attack in Burkina Faso followed a civilian massacre in neighboring Niger on Saturday that left around 100 dead.