Attack on army, volunteers in north Burkina Faso leaves at least 40 people dead

The attack comes nine days after gunmen killed 44 people in the villages of Kourakou and Tondobi in the north of the West African country

Published - April 16, 2023 08:00 pm IST - Ouagadougou

Unidentified assailants killed 40 people and wounded 33 others in an attack on the army and volunteer defence forces in northern Burkina Faso, the government said in a statement on April 16.

The attack took place on Saturday in the village of Aorema near the town of Ouahigouya in the North Region, not far from the border with Mali, an area overrun by Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that have carried out repeated attacks for years.

It is not clear which group carried out the attack. It comes nine days after gunmen killed 44 people in the villages of Kourakou and Tondobi in the north of the West African country.

Six soldiers and 34 members of a volunteer defence force were killed in Saturday's attack, the statement said. The government has encouraged civilians to join local defence forces to try and stem eight years of violence in which thousands of people have died and millions have been forced to flee their homes.

The unrest in Burkina Faso triggered two coups last year by the military, which has vowed to retake control of the country but has failed to stop attacks.

Unrest in the region began in Mali in 2012 when Islamists hijacked a Tuareg separatist uprising. The violence has since spread into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger and threatens to destabilise coastal countries further afield.

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