OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — An attack by gunmen in Burkina Faso’s north this week has killed at least 18 people and severely injured one, the government said.
The attack Monday evening in Yattakou village in the Sahel region’s Seno area has also caused many residents to flee, said Salfo Kabore, the Sahel region’s governor in a statement.
The attack happened the same day that two Spanish journalists and an Irish conservationist were killed and a Burkinabe soldier went missing when their anti-poaching patrol was ambushed by jihadists in the country’s east.
While it’s unclear who committed the attack in the Sahel region, a high-ranking security official told The Associated Press that it was likely carried out by jihadists linked to the Islamic State group who are known to operate in the area along the border with Niger. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Burkina Faso has been overrun by violence linked to Islamic extremists that has killed thousands and displaced more than 1 million people. This week’s attack is the latest in the West African country’s hard-hit Sahel region where extremist rebels have ramped up attacks against civilians and security forces, according to a statement by the government, which said the “terrorists have carried out acts of intimidation, looting, and assassination on civilian populations.”
Earlier this month in Seno province’s Gorgadji town, jihadists killed at least 10 local defense fighters, volunteers recruited by the government to help the army, Hamidou Damboro Zango, the village chief told The Associated Press. Zango, whose son and nephew were killed in the violence, said that even though Gorgadji is controlled by the army, jihadists managed to enter at night and steal people’s animals. When the volunteer fighters tried to retrieve them the next day they were ambushed and killed, he said.
“I’m sad. As a chief, I can’t watch my people die,” said Zango. “We need help.”