About 40 people, including many civilian army volunteers, have been killed in suspected jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso, local sources and security officials said on Monday.
In the northern Sahel region, around 25 people were killed in two assaults on Saturday, including 13 members of the VDP volunteers, a force leader told AFP.
In Kompienga, near Burkina’s southeastern border with Togo and Benin, around 15 civilians were killed on Saturday when their convoy was attacked while under VDP escort, a security source said in the statement. region.
A local resident said three VDP volunteers also died in the attack, and called for help for the wounded, who he said numbered nearly a dozen.
In another raid on Saturday night, assailants carried out a coordinated attack on police and gendarmerie posts in Faramana, near the border with Mali, injuring two, a security source said.
One of the world’s poorest countries, Burkina Faso has been plagued by jihadist raids since 2015, when insurgents began staging cross-border attacks from Mali.
More than 2,000 people have died and almost two million have fled their homes.
Mutinous troops, angered by mounting casualties, overthrew elected president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in January.
The new strongman, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, says tackling violence and restoring security is his top priority.
After several weeks of relative calm following the coup, jihadist attacks resumed and dozens of civilians and members of the security forces were killed.
Some of the heaviest casualties were suffered by the Volunteers for Homeland Defense (VDP), a civilian auxiliary force created in December 2019 to take over some basic security tasks from the army.
Recruits receive two weeks of military training and then work alongside the military, usually performing surveillance, intelligence-gathering, or escort duties.
A security source said there had been “a series of attacks which mainly targeted Volunteers”.
Of the last two attacks in the north, one occurred in Guessel, where “about twenty people, including eight VDPs” were killed, while the other took place in Markoye, where five volunteers and one civilian died, the VDP officer said.
The latest attack came a week after an ambush in the north in which 10 volunteers were killed, along with two civilians.