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.

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.

READ ALSO: Two Killed As Clashes Erupt At Guinea Funeral March

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.

Pastor, Four Others Killed In Burkina Faso Church Attack

Burkina Faso on the map.

 

Five people including a pastor died in an attack on a church in Burkina Faso, security and local sources said Monday in a country which has seen a surge in killings blamed on jihadists.

Sunday’s assault in the small northern town of Silgadji was the first on a church in the impoverished west African nation.

READ ALSO: Four Dead In Suspected Boko Haram Attack In Cameroon

“Unidentified armed individuals have attacked the Protestant church in Silgadji killing four members of the congregation and the pastor. At least two other people are missing,” a security source told AFP.

AFP

Bomb Blast Kills Five Burkina Troops, Police

Burkina Faso on the map.

 

Five members of the security forces were killed in roadside bomb attacks in eastern Burkina Faso at the weekend, officials said on Monday.

A policeman and a soldier were killed on Saturday when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kompienga, a security official said.

Late Sunday, three soldiers were killed in the same area by the same technique, another official said.

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A third person who was in the vehicle was injured and taken to the hospital, the official said.

The attacks bear the hallmarks of jihadist groups whose insurgency in the Sahel spilled over into Burkina Faso four years ago.

More than 300 people have been killed, typically in hit-and-run raids, and the capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times.

Attacks using IEDs began in August 2018 and have claimed more than 60 lives, according to a toll compiled by AFP.

The armed forces began an anti-terror operation, named Otapuana (“Lightning”), in the centre and east of the country earlier this month.

It aims at “neutralising terrorists and destroying hiding places in forests in the region,” according to the authorities.

Since January 1, a state of emergency has been in force in 14 of the country’s 45 provinces.

AFP

Five Dead In Burkina Clashes After Shooting

Burkina Faso on the map.

 

Five people have been killed in Burkina Faso in a clash between police and angry youths who went on the rampage at a police station after a young man was shot dead, the security ministry said Saturday.

A crowd of about 100 youths stormed the police station in the western town of Orodara on Friday after the alleged gunman took shelter there following the deadly shooting of the young man earlier Friday.

Five people were killed and eight wounded in the clash, the ministry said in a statement, without giving details about the victims.

“Gendarmerie and police reinforcements have been deployed in Orodara where calm has returned,” a security source said.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed in the town, where the market and other public venues were closed and gatherings banned, according to provincial commissioner Abdallah Sangare.

Last week, two policemen were lynched Nafona, another town in the west of the country, by a crowd opposed to an arrest they were making.

Burkina Faso lies in the heart of the vast Sahel region, which is struggling with a bloody Islamist insurgency.

The region turned into a hotbed of violent extremism and lawlessness after chaos engulfed Libya in 2011.

AFP

Canada ‘Appalled’ By Citizen’s Murder In Burkina Faso

Kirk Woodman. Credit: @BoyerMichel

 

Canada expressed shock and sadness Thursday at the murder in Burkina Faso of a Canadian geologist who was abducted from a gold mine by armed militants.

“Canada is appalled and deeply saddened that Kirk Woodman, who was abducted on January 15, 2019, has been killed in Burkina Faso,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

“Canada condemns those responsible for this terrible crime. We are working with the government of Burkina Faso and other international partners to pursue those responsibly and bring them to justice.”

A spokesman for Burkina Faso’s security ministry said Woodman was found dead of gunshot wounds. The body was recovered late Wednesday in Siegqa in Soum province, a security official told AFP.

Woodman was taken captive late Tuesday in a night raid on a gold mine owned by Progress Minerals near Burkina Faso’s borders with Niger and Mali.

The region has been battling a wave of lawlessness and extremist violence attributed to jihadist groups.

AFP

Canadian Geologist Kidnapped In Burkina Faso Found Dead

Kirk Woodman. Credit: @BoyerMichel

 

A Canadian geologist kidnapped at a goldmine in Burkina Faso by suspected jihadists has been found dead, the security ministry told AFP on Thursday.

 

A body found with gunshot wounds late Wednesday is that of Kirk Woodman, “the Canadian who was kidnapped the day before yesterday,” ministerial spokesman Jean-Paul Badoum said.

Earlier, a security official said the body of a “white man with gunshot wounds” had been found in Siega in Soum province.

The body “is being taken to Dori for identification,” the source said. Another security source said the remains would then be flown by helicopter to Ouagadougou.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said her country was “appalled and deeply saddened” by the killing.

“Canada condemns those responsible for this terrible crime. We are working with the government of Burkina Faso and other international partners to pursue those responsible and bring them to justice,” she said.

Woodman is one of two Canadians who have gone missing in Burkina Faso, an impoverished country in the front line of a jihadist rebellion in the Sahel.

He was vice president of a Canadian company, Progress Minerals, which owns a gold mine at Tiabangou, located in Yagha, a volatile province near the Niger and Mali border.

Hresponsiblye mine when the site came under attack from about 10 armed men, Security Minister Clement Sawadogo said on Wednesday.

The assailants “rounded up the staff. They searched the base camp and made off with some equipment. They took the expatriate with them,” he said.

Woodman had arrived in the country just on January 10, Sawadogo added.

In mid-December, 34-year-old Canadian aid worker Edith Blais was reported missing with an Italian friend, Lucas Tacchetto, 30, as they were travelling between the western town of Bobo-Dioulasso and the capital Ouagadougou.

Troubled region 

The vast region on the southern rim of the Sahara is struggling with a bloody Islamist insurgency and a wave of lawlessness.

After chaos engulfed Libya in 2011, an Islamist insurgency gained ground in northern Mali, Burkina’s neighbour, while Boko Haram rose in northern Nigeria.

Jihadist raids began in northern Burkina Faso in 2015 before spreading to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.

Most of the attacks have been attributed to Ansarul Islam and the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM).

Smaller groups are also active, with the overall number of fighters estimated to be in the hundreds, according to security sources.

The groups are believed to be responsible for more than 270 deaths since 2015. Ouagadougou has been hit three times and almost 60 people have died there.

Eight foreigners have been abducted in the last four years, according to an AFP tally.

Among them is 84-year-old Australian doctor worker, Kenneth Elliott, who was kidnapped with his wife Jocelyn in April 2015 in Djibo, where the pair ran a clinic for the poor.

Jocelyn Elliott was released after a year. Her husband, whose whereabouts remain unknown, has been declared a citizen of Burkina Faso, under a decree issued last November.

Canada has 250 soldiers and eight army helicopters deployed in Mali as part of a UN peacekeeping mission.

AFP

Burkina’s Army Chief Sacked As Jihadist Attacks Continue

Security personnel take cover as smoke billows from The Institute Francais in Ouagadougou on March 2, 2018, as the capital of Burkina Faso came under multiple attacks targeting the French embassy, the French cultural centre and the country’s military headquarters. Ahmed OUOBA / AFP

 

Burkina Faso’s army chief was sacked on Thursday as the armed forces struggle to put a stop to jihadist attacks in the West African nation.

Major General Oumarou Sadou was replaced by General Moise Minoungou, according to a presidential decree read on public television.

For three years Burkina Faso has faced increasingly frequent and deadly jihadist attacks.

The country lies in the heart of the sprawling, impoverished Sahel, on the southern rim of the Sahara.

The region became a hotbed of extremism after chaos engulfed Libya in 2011, followed by an Islamist insurgency in north Mali and the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Jihadist attacks began in northern Burkina Faso in 2015 but then spread to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.

Burkina has declared a state of emergency in provinces within seven of the country’s 13 administrative regions after 10 gendarmes were killed near the border with Mali.

The capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times, leaving 60 people dead.

In March 2018 Twin attacks on the French embassy in Burkina Faso and the country’s military headquarters left dozens dead or wounded.

AFP

Canadian Woman Reported Missing In Burkina Faso

Edith Blais Credit: @rapida_canada

 

A Canadian woman who traveled to Burkina Faso with an Italian friend as part of a humanitarian aid program has been reported missing, the foreign ministry said Saturday.

Edith Blais, 34, has not been heard from since December 15, according to Canadian media.

“Canadian consular agents in Burkina Faso are in contact with the local authorities to gather information. Consular services have been provided to members of the family in Canada,” a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

Local media reports said Blais traveled to the West African country via Europe with a friend, Lucas Tacchetto, a 30-year-old from Venice. The Canadian foreign ministry had no comment on Tacchetto’s status.

The pair were supposed to travel by car to Togo for a humanitarian aid project with Zion’Gaia, an environmentally oriented group that engages in reforestation projects, according to its website.

“They never have crossed the border or applied for a visa from Burkina Faso to Togo or Ghana,” read a statement posted on a Facebook group created by the woman’s family.

It said Blais and Tacchetto were heading to Ouagadougou from Bobo-Diulasso for a four- or five-day stay, noting that a Canadian travel warning had reported a risk of banditry and kidnapping in the area.

Ethnic violence left 48 dead in Burkina Faso this week, and a state of emergency was decreed in several provinces in the wake of recurrent jihadist attacks.

The Canadian foreign ministry cautioned its nationals to avoid non-essential travel in Burkina Faso because of the “terrorist threat.”

AFP

13 Dead In Burkina Faso After Suspected Jihadist Attack

Burkina Faso on the map.

 

Thirteen people died when suspected jihadists attacked a village in central-northern Burkina Faso, triggering a deadly bout of ethnic violence, local sources and a security official said on Wednesday.

Gunmen on motorbikes attacked the village of Yirgou in Barsalogo district on Tuesday morning, “killing six people, including the village chief” and his son, the security official said.

A Barsalogo resident, reached by phone by AFP from the capital Ouagadougou, said local villagers, who were from the Mossi ethnic group, then attacked a nearby camp of herders from the nomadic Fulani group, “accusing them of being accomplices of the terrorists.”

“Seven Fulani herders were lynched and their homes were burned down,” the security official said.

The mayor of Barsalogo district, Abdoulaye Pafadnam, said the 13 dead were buried at nightfall on Tuesday, but added it was possible the toll was even higher.

“A precarious calm has returned to the village, thanks to the presence of defence and security reinforcements,” he said.

“However, there are reports going around of armed groups coming from the Malian border, and these have caused a mobilisation of the koglweogo,” Pafadnam said, referring to a self-defence group.

“A crisis committee has been set up to get everyone around the table to talk and avoid the worst,” he said.

Burkina on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in provinces within seven of the country’s 13 administrative regions, four days after 10 gendarmes were killed near the border with Mali.

A state of emergency gives additional powers to the security forces to carry out searches of homes and to restrict freedom of movement.

Burkina Faso lies in the heart of the vast Sahel.

The region turned into a hotbed of extremism and lawlessness after chaos engulfed Libya in 2011, followed by an Islamist insurgency in northern Mali and the rise of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.

Jihadist attacks began in northern Burkina Faso in 2015 but then spread to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.

Most attacks have been attributed to the jihadist group Ansarul Islam, which emerged near the Mali border in December 2016, and to the JNIM (the Group to Support Islam and Muslims), which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Those groups are believed to be responsible for more than 270 deaths since 2015. The capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times with the deaths of almost 60 people.

AFP

Burkina Faso Declares Emergency Over Violence

Burkina Faso on the map.

 

Burkina Faso is declaring a state of emergency in provinces grappling with jihadist violence, Communications Minister Remis Fulgance Dandjinou said on Monday.

“The president has decided to declare a state of emergency in certain provinces of Burkina Faso. He has also given instructions for specific security measures across the country,” Dandjinou said after a cabinet meeting that followed a deadly attack on police.

Ten gendarmes were killed and three wounded on Thursday in an ambush in the northwest of the country, near the border with Mali.

They had been heading to the village of Loroni after a school had been attacked and textbooks torched by armed assailants, a security source told AFP.

The state of emergency applies to a number of provinces that lie within seven of the country’s 13 administrative regions, Dandjinou said.

The regions are Hauts-Bassins, Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades, North and Sahel, in the west and north of the country, and the East and Centre-East in the east.

Names of the provinces where the state of emergency is to be applied will be made public in a presidential decree, he said.

A state of emergency gives additional powers to the security forces to carry out searches of homes and to restrict freedom of movement.

The impoverished Sahel state has been battling a rising wave of jihadist attacks over the last three years.

They began in the north of the country but have since spread to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.

Most attacks are attributed to the jihadist group Ansarul Islam, which emerged near the Mali border in December 2016, and to the JNIM (the Group to Support Islam and Muslims), which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Those groups are believed to be responsible for more than 255 deaths since 2015.

The capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times and almost 60 people have died there.

AFP