At least 138 people died in Burkina Faso in the deadliest attack in the country for years.
At least 138 people were killed in Burkina Faso in the deadliest attacks the country has seen in years.
The attack took place in Solhan in the Sahel's Yagha province near the border with Mali and Niger on Friday.
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore called the attack “barbaric".
The attack and the provisional toll of a hundred dead were quickly confirmed by the government, which said in a statement that the victims are "civilians without distinction of age, killed by terrorists" and that "several homes and the market (of Solhan) were set on fire. "
The government declared three days of mourning, stating that defence and security forces were working to neutralise terrorists.
This is the deadliest attack recorded in Burkina Faso since the West African country was overrun by jihadists linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State about five years ago, said Heni Nsaibia, senior researcher at the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.
“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 fighting them in the tri-state border region,” he told AP.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Another attack carried out late on Friday evening, in a village in the same region, Tadaryat, killed at least 14 people, including a civilian auxiliary. The attacks come a week after two other attacks in the same area, in which four people were killed.
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.