Terrorist Group Kills 36 Civilians In Burkina Faso

 

 

Militants killed 36 civilians when they attacked villages in northern Burkina Faso, the government said on Tuesday, appealing for local volunteers to bolster its fight against jihadists.

A “terrorist group” killed 32 civilians when they attacked and burned the market in Nagraogo village before killing four more people in Alamou village on Monday, the government said.

Three other people were wounded in the attacks, it added.

“The Burkina government has learned with consternation and anger of the deaths of 36 Burkinabe in Sanmatenga province, after a terrorist attack,” communications minister Remis Fulgance Dandjinou said.

Hundreds of people have fled the area and taken refuge in the city of Kaya, in Sanmatenga province, according to residents contacted by AFP.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore announced a two-day period of mourning, for Wednesday and Thursday, during which flags will be flown at half-mast and festivals will be prohibited.

Volunteer plan

Faced with these “repeated attacks” against civilians, the government launched an appeal for the people’s “frank collaboration” with the defence and security forces.

The Burkina parliament on Tuesday adopted unanimously a law allowing for the recruitment of local volunteers in the fight against jihadists.

According to a document seen by AFP, volunteers aged over 18 will be recruited in their regions in agreement with local populations.

They will be given 14 days military training, after which they will be given small arms and other communication equipment.

The recruits would be expected to conduct surveillance and provide information and protection for their local communities in the event of an attack while waiting for security forces to deploy, according to Defence Minister Cheriff Sy.

Burkina Faso, as well as neighbouring Mali and Niger, has seen frequent jihadist attacks which have left hundreds of people dead since the start of 2015 when Islamist extremist violence began to spread across the Sahel region.

According to the UN, around 4,000 people were killed in jihadist attacks in the three Sahel countries last year.

The Burkina Faso army is ill-equipped and poorly-trained to deal with the threat posed by jihadists in the country.

However, in recent months they have enjoyed a series of successes, claiming to have killed a hundred jihadists in many operations.

There are 4,500 French troops deployed in the Sahel region as well as a 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Mali to fight insurgents, backing up national forces of the G5 — Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

In the wake of the latest attack European Commission diplomatic spokeswoman Virginie Battu-Henriksson said it was a reminder of the “urgency” of a plan to increase European security and development action in the region.

“Thoughts for the families of the victims of this new terrorist attack in a market in Burkina Faso,” she said on Twitter.

AFP

Seven Children Among 14 Killed In Roadside Bomb In Burkina Faso

 

 

Seven children and four women were among 14 civilians, killed when a roadside bomb blew up their bus in northwestern Burkina Faso, the government said.

“The provisional toll is 14 dead,” a statement said, adding that 19 more people were hurt, three of them seriously in Saturday’s blast.

The explosion happened in Sourou province near the Mali border as students returned to school after the Christmas holidays, a security source said.

“The vehicle hit a homemade bomb on the Toeni-Tougan road,” the source told AFP.

“The government strongly condemns this cowardly and barbaric act,” the statement said.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack but jihadist violence in Burkina Faso has been blamed on combatants linked to both Al-Qaeda and Islamic State groups.

Meanwhile, the army reported an assault against gendarmes at Inata in the north on Friday, saying “a dozen terrorists were neutralised”.

The deaths came the week after 35 people, most of them women, died in an attack on the northern city of Arbinda and seven Burkinabe troops were killed in a raid on their army base nearby.

Burkina Faso, bordering Mali and Niger, has seen frequent jihadist attacks which have left hundreds of people dead since the start of 2015 when Islamist extremist violence began to spread across the Sahel region.

In a televised address on Tuesday President Roch Marc Christian Kabore insisted that “victory” against “terrorism” was assured.

The entire Sahel region is fighting a jihadist insurgency with help from Western countries but has not managed to stem the bloodshed.

Five Sahel states — Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad — have joined forces to combat terrorism in the fragile region that lies between the Sahara and the Atlantic.

Increasingly deadly Islamist attacks in Burkina have killed more than 750 people since 2015, according to an AFP count, and forced 560,000 people from their homes, UN figures show.

Children Among 14 Dead In Burkina Roadside Bombing

 

Fourteen civilians, including many schoolchildren, died Saturday when a roadside bomb blew up their bus in northwestern Burkina Faso, a security source told AFP.

Four people were seriously hurt in the blast in Sourou province near the Mali border, the source added, as children returned to school after holidays.

“The vehicle hit a homemade bomb on the Toeni-Tougan road,” a second security source said. “Most of the dead are schoolchildren.”

Meanwhile, the army reported an attack against gendarmes at Inata in the north on Friday, saying “a dozen terrorists were neutralised”.

Since 2015, increasingly deadly Islamist attacks in Burkina have killed more than 750 people according to an AFP count, and forced 560,000 people from their homes according to UN figures.

The entire Sahel region, especially Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, is fighting jihadist insurgency with help from Western countries, but has not managed to stem the bloodshed.

AFP

UN, Pope Condemn Burkina Faso Terrorist Attack, Mourn Victims

 

 

A jihadist attack that left 42 dead in the north of Burkina Faso, the worst assault in the country for five years, plunged the nation into mourning over Christmas and sparked messages of solidarity from the United Nations and Pope Francis.

Thirty-five civilians, including 31 women, and seven soldiers were killed Tuesday in a morning raid which lasted for several hours and targeted both civilians and a military base in the northern town of Arbinda, the army said, adding that 80 assailants were killed.

Around a dozen soldiers also died in a separate night-time ambush 60 kilometres (37 miles) away in Hallele, in the same volatile northern province of Soum, security sources said Wednesday.

Burkina Faso, bordering Mali and Niger, has seen frequent jihadist attacks which have left hundreds of people dead since the start of 2015 when Islamist extremist violence began to spread across the Sahel region.

“A large group of terrorists simultaneously attacked the military base and the civilian population in Arbinda,” the army chief of staff said.

“While the (military) group was under heavy fire, another group of armed individuals attacked the civilian population, mainly women including displaced people who had taken refuge in Arbinda,” a security source told AFP.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore confirmed that 35 civilians were killed in the “barbaric attack” in Arbinda and declared 48 hours of national mourning over Wednesday and Thursday.

Government spokesman Remis Dandjinou said 31 of the civilian victims were women.

 Pope’s prayers 

There was worldwide condemnation of the attack, as well as expressions of support for Burkina Faso.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the Christmas Eve attack and offered his “deep condolences” to the families of the victims, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General conveys the solidarity of the United Nations to the government and people of Burkina Faso,” he added, emphasising the UN’s continued support for the Sahel region in their efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism.

In his traditional Christmas message, Pope Francis denounced attacks on Christians in Africa and prayed for victims of conflict, natural disasters and disease on the world’s poorest continent.

The pontiff urged “comfort to those who are persecuted for their religious faith, especially missionaries and members of the faithful who have been kidnapped, and to the victims of attacks by extremist groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria”.

In Brussels, the head of the European Council Charles Michel tweeted: “Inates in Niger yesterday, Arbinda in Burkina Faso today… Martyr towns, victims of a rampant terrorism that threatens us all. The European Union stands by Africa in its battle against terrorism.”

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou also expressed his “solidarity” and, speaking “in the name of the Nigerien people” offered his “condolences for all civilian and military victims.”

The morning raid in Burkina was carried out by more than 200 jihadists on motorbikes, triggering a fierce firefight that lasted about three hours before armed forces backed by the air force drove the militants back, a security source said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bloodshed, but jihadist violence in Burkina Faso has been blamed on militants linked to both Al-Qaeda and Islamic State groups.

 560,000 internally displaced 

Leaders of the G5 Sahel nations held summit talks in Niger earlier this month, calling for closer cooperation and international support in the battle against the Islamist threat.

France is also hosting another meeting next month.

Militant violence has spread across the vast Sahel region, especially in Burkina Faso and Niger, having started when armed Islamists revolted in northern Mali in 2012.

There are 4,500 French troops deployed in the region as well as a 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Mali to fight insurgents, backing up national forces of the G5 — Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

In Burkina Faso, more than 700 people have been killed and around 560,000 internally displaced, according to the United Nations.

Attacks have targeted mostly the north and east of the country, though the capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times.

Prior to Tuesday’s attack, Burkina security forces said they had killed around 100 jihadists in several operations since November.

An ambush on a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company in November killed 37 people.

Attacks have intensified this year as the under-equipped, poorly trained Burkina Faso army struggles to contain the Islamist militancy.

AFP

Terrorist Attack: ‘We Will Stand With You’, Buhari Tells Burkina Faso

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the government and people of Burkina Faso that their bothers in Nigeria and the West African subregion will not abandon them to their fate.

According to a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari, on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president said this in reaction to Tuesday’s deadly terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 35 citizens.

He described the incident as a cowardly act, adding that it remains condemned by reasonable opinion all over the world.

Speaking further, President Buhari recalled his meeting last weekend with the country’s President, Roch Marc Christian Kabore on the sidelines of the ECOWAS meeting, during which both leaders agreed to hold a summit in the new year to discuss the issues of security and economy.

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“I look forward to that meeting,” the President said, adding that “as we have done all the time, we will stand with our brothers and sisters in West Africa in all situations.”

Meanwhile, President Buhari commended the Burkinabe troops for their efforts in repelling the attack and prayed for the repose of the souls of those killed.

35 People Killed In Burkina Faso Twin Attack

 

Jihadists in Burkina Faso killed 35 civilians, almost all of them women, when they simultaneously attacked a town in the north and its military base in one of the deadliest assaults in nearly five years of jihadist violence in the West African country.

Seven soldiers and 80 jihadists also died in the double attack Tuesday in Arbinda in Soum province which lasted “several hours” and was of a “rare intensity”, the army said.

Burkina Faso, bordering Mali and Niger, has seen regular jihadist attacks which have left hundreds dead since the start of 2015 when militant violence began to spread across the Sahel region.

“A large group of terrorists simultaneously attacked the military base and the civilian population in Arbinda,” the army chief of staff said in a statement.

“This barbaric attack resulted in the deaths of 35 civilian victims, most of them women,” President Roch Marc Christian Kabore added on Twitter, praising the “bravery and commitment” of the defence and security forces.

Communications minister and government spokesman Remis Dandjinou later said 31 of the civilian victims were women, adding around 20 soldiers and six civilians were wounded.

The president has declared 48 hours of national mourning.

The morning raid was carried out by dozens of jihadists on motorbikes and lasted several hours before armed forces backed by the air force drove the militants back, the army said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but jihadist violence in Burkina Faso has been blamed on militants linked to both Al Qaeda and Islamic State groups.

– 560,000 internally displaced –

Leaders of the G5 Sahel nations held summit talks in Niger earlier this month, calling for closer cooperation and international support in the battle against the Islamist threat.

Militant violence has spread across the vast Sahel region, especially in Burkina Faso and Niger, having started when armed Islamists revolted in northern Mali in 2012.

The Sahel region of Africa lies to the south of the Sahara Desert and stretches across the breadth of the African continent.

There are 4,500 French troops deployed in the region as well as a 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Mali to fight insurgents.

The G5 group is made up of Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, whose impoverished armies have the support of French forces as well as the UN in Mali.

In Burkina Faso, more than 700 people have been killed and around 560,000 internally displaced, according to the United Nations.

Attacks have targeted mostly the north and east of the country, though the capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times.

Prior to Tuesday’s attack, Burkina security forces said they had killed around a hundred jihadists in several operations since November.

An ambush on a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company in November killed 37 people.

Attacks have intensified this year as the under-equipped, poorly trained Burkina Faso army struggles to contain the Islamist militancy.

AFP

Burkina Faso Army Says 32 ‘Terrorists’ Killed In Two Operations

FILES) In this file photo taken on March 02, 2019 Burkinabe soldiers take part in a ceremony in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso’s security forces are overwhelmed by the flare-up of attacks carried out almost every day by jihadist groups. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

The Burkina Faso army said on Sunday it had killed 32 “terrorists” in two operations in the north of the country after an attack on a patrol.

One soldier was killed in the operations, which come less than a month after 37 people were killed in an ambush on a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company.

The army said 24 people were killed in the first operation on Friday and a further eight in a second on Saturday.

The first operation in Yorsala in Loroum province saw a number of women who “had been held and used by the terrorists as sex slaves” freed.

Arms, ammunition and other materials were also recovered in the second operation on the outskirts of Bourzanga in Bam province, the army statement added.

The impoverished and politically fragile Sahel country has been struggling to quell a rising jihadist revolt that has claimed hundreds of lives since early 2015.

The attacks — typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings — have claimed nearly 700 lives across the country since early 2015, according to an AFP toll.

Almost 500,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes.

The attacks have been claimed by a range of jihadist groups, including Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The country’s badly equipped, poorly trained and underfunded security forces have been unable to stem the violence, which has intensified throughout 2019 to become almost daily.

The Sahel region, including Burkina Faso’s neighbours Mali and Niger, has been afflicted by the violence despite the presence of the regional G5 Sahel force as well as French and US troops.

37 Killed In Burkina Faso’s Deadliest Attack In Five Years

FILES) In this file photo taken on March 02, 2019 Burkinabe soldiers take part in a ceremony in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso’s security forces are overwhelmed by the flare-up of attacks carried out almost every day by jihadist groups. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

An ambush on a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company in Burkina Faso killed 37 people on Wednesday, the deadliest attack in nearly five years of jihadist violence in the West African country.

The impoverished and politically fragile Sahel country has been struggling to quell a rising jihadist revolt that has claimed hundreds of lives since early 2015.

On Wednesday morning “unidentified armed individuals” ambushed five buses carrying local employees, contractors and suppliers of the Samafo mining company, said Saidou Sanou, the governor of the country’s Est Region.

As well as the 37 civilians killed, 60 were wounded, he said.

Mine owner Semafo Inc. said the five buses escorted by the military were approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Boungou gold mine in the Tapoa province when they were ambushed.

A security source said “a military vehicle that was escorting the convoy hit an explosive device”.

“Two buses carrying workers were then fired upon,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Burkina Faso’s government said the gunmen had conducted a “complex attack”, adding that defence and security forces had launched a relief operation and were searching the area.

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It was the third deadly attack on Canadian firm Semafo, which operates two mines in Burkina Faso, in 15 months.

“We are actively working with all levels of authorities to ensure the ongoing safety and security of our employees, contractors and suppliers,” Semafo said in a statement, offering condolences to the families of the victims.

The mine itself, it added, remains secure and its operations had not been affected.

Two separate attacks on convoys carrying Boungou mine employees in August and December last year killed 11 people.

The company blamed “armed bandits” for last year’s attacks, and subsequently reinforced its armed escorts.

The Burkina Faso government this year asked mining companies to make their own arrangements to transport their employees, according to sources close to the miners.

Nearly 700 dead in five years

Burkina Faso’s northern provinces have been battling a nearly five-year wave of jihadist violence that came from neighbouring Mali.

The attacks — typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings — have claimed nearly 700 lives across the country since early 2015, according to an AFP toll.

Almost 500,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes.

The attacks have been claimed by a range of jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The country’s badly equipped, poorly trained and underfunded security forces have been unable to stem the violence, which has intensified throughout 2019 to become almost daily.

The Sahel region, including Burkina Faso’s neighbours Mali and Niger, has been afflicted by the violence despite the presence of the regional G5 Sahel force as well as French and US troops.

Burkina Faso’s previous deadliest attack was in January 2016, when jihadists raided the Splendid Hotel and a cafe in the capital Ouagadougou, killing 30 people, around half of them foreign nationals.

In August this year, the army suffered its worst attack with 24 soldiers killed in an assault on a base in Koutougou, near the Mali border.

On Monday, an attack on a base in northern Burkina Faso killed at least five gendarmes and five civilians.

Police Commissioner Killed In Burkina Faso Attack

 

A police commissioner was killed during a brutal assault by gunmen on a police station in northwestern Burkina Faso, security sources said Friday.

It marks the latest deadly attack in the troubled north of the West African country, which is battling a jihadist revolt that has claimed hundreds of lives.

“The Sanaba district police station in the Boucle du Mouhoun region was targeted in an armed attack around 7:00 pm (1900 GMT)” on Thursday, a security source told AFP.

“Unfortunately the police commissioner was mortally wounded.”

A police officer said “the attack was carried out by a group of about 15 heavily armed individuals on motorbikes”.

“There was a lot of damage caused by a fire,” the officer said on condition of anonymity, pleading for “appropriate equipment and adequate police forces to face terrorists who sometimes have great firepower”.

Burkina Faso is an impoverished and politically fragile country in the heart of the Sahel, and its security forces are badly-equipped, poorly trained and under-funded.

The country’s northern provinces have been battling with a four-year-old wave of jihadist violence that came from neighbouring Mali.

The attacks — typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings — have claimed more than 630 lives nationally, according to an AFP toll. Nearly 500,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

On Monday, a police officer was killed in an attack on a military post in the northern Bam province.

Late last month, five soldiers died in an ambush at Toeni, in the northwestern province of Sourou.

15 Killed In Fresh Burkina Faso Attack

 

Gunmen killed 15 civilians in northern Burkina Faso over the weekend, security and local sources said Monday, in the latest deadly attack as the impoverished West African country battles a jihadist revolt.

“On Saturday night numerous armed individuals attacked the village of Pobe-Mengao and kidnapped several residents, ransacked shops and carried away equipment,” a local source said.

A security source said “the lifeless bodies of 11 people were found on Sunday morning… probably the bodies of those abducted the day before in Pobe-Mengao by an armed terrorist group”.

The local source said that “after the attackers departed, the population started to leave the village to take refuge in Djibo — particularly after the bodies were discovered.”

Djibo, the capital of the Soum province, is 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Pobe-Mengao.

The gunmen returned to Pobe-Mengao on Sunday morning, where they “shot in the air for several hours before leaving,” said the source, who is a Djibo resident, quoting testimonies from the displaced villagers.

Four more bodies were found after the second onslaught, the source told AFP, bringing the death toll to at least 15.

The security source said that reinforcements had been sent to patrol the area.

Soum is one of a swathe of provinces in northern Burkina Faso that have been battling with a four-year-old wave of jihadist violence that came from neighbouring Mali.

The attacks — typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings — have claimed around 640 lives nationally, according to an AFP toll.

Nearly 500,000 people have been internally displaced.

More than 10,000 people marched in the capital Ouagadougou on Saturday to express their support for the country’s security forces, which are badly-equipped, poorly trained and under-funded.

AFP

Nine Killed In Fresh Burkina Faso Attack

FILES) In this file photo taken on March 02, 2019 Burkinabe soldiers take part in a ceremony in Ouagadougou.  ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

Nine people were killed in northern Burkina Faso late Sunday, in the latest attack in a region struggling with a jihadist revolt, a security official said.

“Armed individuals carried out an attack on the village of Zoura, killing nine people, all of them civilians,” the source said on Monday. On Saturday, four soldiers and a police officer were killed and 11 others injured in twin attacks in the embattled region.

AFP

16 Killed In Burkina Faso Mosque Attack

FILES) In this file photo taken on March 02, 2019 Burkinabe soldiers take part in a ceremony in Ouagadougou. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

Armed men stormed a mosque in the volatile north of Burkina Faso as worshippers were at prayer, killing 16 people and sending residents fleeing, security sources and locals said Saturday.

The attack on the Grand Mosque in the town of Salmossi on Friday evening underscores the difficulties faced by the country in its battle against jihadists.

One source said 13 people died on the spot and three succumbed to their injuries later. Two of the wounded are in critical condition.

“Since this morning, people have started to flee the area,” one resident from the nearby town of Gorom-Gorom said.

He said there was a “climate of panic despite military reinforcements” that were deployed after the deadly attack.

Although hit by jihadist violence, many Burkinabes oppose the presence of foreign troops — notably from former colonial ruler France — on their territory.

On Saturday, a crowd of about 1,000 people marched in the capital Ouagadougou “to denounce terrorism and the presence of foreign military bases in Africa.”

“Terrorism has now become an ideal pretext for installing foreign military bases in our country,” said Gabin Korbeogo, one of co-organisers of the march.

“The French, American, Canadian, German and other armies have set foot in our sub-region, saying they want to fight terrorism. But despite this massive presence… the terrorist groups… are growing stronger.”

Until 2015, the poor West African country Burkina Faso was largely spared violence that hit Mali and then Niger, its neighbours to the north.

But jihadists — some linked to Al-Qaeda, others to the so-called Islamic State group — started infiltrating the north, then the east, and then endangered the southern and western borders of the landlocked country.

Combining guerrilla hit-and-run tactics with road mines and suicide bombings, the insurgents have killed nearly 600 people, according to a toll compiled by AFP.

Civil society groups put the number at more than 1,000, with attacks no taking place on almost a daily basis.

Burkina’s defence and security forces are badly-equipped, poorly trained and have shown themselves to be unable to put a halt to the increasing violence.

France has a force of 200 in Burkina Faso but also intervenes frequently as part of its regional Barkhane operation.

Almost 500,000 people have fled their homes because of the violence, according to the UN refugee agency, which has warned of a humanitarian crisis affecting 1.5 million people.

Almost 3,000 schools have closed, and the impact on an overwhelmingly rural economy is escalating, disrupting trade and markets.

AFP