World

Dozens killed in separate Burkina Faso attacks

At least 10 people were killed when an aid convoy was ambushed in Burkina Faso, the government said on Sunday, bringing to at least 50 the death toll from a string of attacks blamed on armed groups.

The ambush occurred on Saturday near the northern town of Barsalogho, it said in a statement, adding that an attack on a livestock market in the village of Kompienga in the eastern part of the country earlier in the day had killed 25 people, according to a provisional toll.

Saturday’s attacks came a day after a convoy of mostly shopkeepers escorted by a local self-defence unit came under fire in the north of the West African country, killing 15 people. That attack, in Loroum province, was also blamed on armed groups.

The humanitarian convoy was returning from the northern town of Foube after delivering food in Barsalogho, the statement said. At least five civilians and five gendarmes were killed and about 20 people were injured.

No group has claimed responsibility.

Saturday’s violence underscores deep instability in parts of Burkina Faso, which has been battling armed groups with links to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) since 2017.

Hundreds have been killed in the past year in the Sahel nation, and more than half a million people have fled their homes due to the violence, which has also raised ethnic and religious tensions.

In the past five years, more than 900 people have been killed by armed groups, while some 860,000 people have fled their homes.

A local governor, Colonel Saidou Sanou, said in a statement that the bloodshed underlined the need for the army and locals to work together to “defeat the terrorist hydra”.

The Sahel country is taking part in a regional effort to battle an armed uprising along with Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Chad.

Their militaries, under-equipped and poorly trained, are supported by 5,000 French troops in the region.

Unrest in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger killed approximately 4,000 people last year, according to United Nations figures. -Aljazeera

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