Gunmen killed at least 100 people in a northern Burkina Faso village, the government said yesterday, in what was the country’s deadliest attack in years.
he attack took place on Friday evening in Solhan village, in the Sahel’s Yagha province, said a government spokesman, blaming jihadists.
This is the deadliest attack recorded in Burkina Faso since the West African country was overrun by jihadists linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State about five years ago.
“It is clear that militant groups have shifted up gears to aggravate the situation in Burkina Faso, and moved their efforts to areas outside the immediate reach of the French-led counter-terrorism coalition,” said one informed observer.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Despite the presence of more than 5,000 French troops in the Sahel, jihadist violence is increasing.
In one week in April, more than 50 people were killed in Burkina Faso, including an Irish conservationist and two Spanish journalists. More than one million people in the country have been internally displaced.
Islamic extremists have been increasingly staging assaults in Burkina Faso, especially in the region that borders Niger and Mali.
Burkina Faso’s ill-equipped army has been struggling to contain the spread of jihadists. The government enlisted the help of volunteer fighters last year to help the army, but the volunteers have incurred retaliation by extremists who target them and the communities they help.
Mali also is experiencing a political crisis that has led to the suspension of international support. France has said it is ceasing joint military operations with Malian forces until the West African nation’s junta complies with international demands to restore civilian rule.