At least 50 civilians have been killed in a militant attack in eastern Burkina Faso on Wednesday, the region’s governor said, reported Africa News.
In a statement released on Thursday, Colonel Hubert Yameogo, the governor of the East Region, said it currently remains unclear who was behind Wednesday’s attack on residents of the rural commune of Madjoari.
Yameogo said the victims were traveling to a town in the nearby commune of Pama, close to the borders with Benin and Togo. He added that some unidentified armed individuals targeted residents of Madjoari, a locality under blockade by jihadists and who were trying to leave it, near a bridge.
The governor said that the provisional death toll is around 50. He offered condolences to the bereaved families and assured that security actions are underway to restore peace.
The attack follows two other attacks recently reported in Madjoari against soldiers and civilians. One killed 17 civilians and another killed 11 soldiers.
Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have overrun swathes of Burkina Faso in recent years, part of a wider insurgency across West Africa’s semi-arid Sahel region.
Burkina Faso, particularly the north and east, has been hit by movements affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State for seven years, which have killed more than 2,000 civilians and soldiers and displaced nearly two million.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, the country’s new strongman, who ousted elected President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in January this year, accused him of being ineffective in the face of jihadist violence, and has made the security issue his priority.
In early April, he announced the creation of local dialogue committees with jihadist groups to try to curb the violence.
The military junta intends to stay in power for three years before holding elections and returning Burkina Faso to civilian, democratic rule.