Burkina Faso says 28 soldiers and civilians have been killed in rebel attacks | Conflict news

Rebel fighters carried out separate attacks on Sunday and Monday, including 15 men killed after a minibus was stopped.

At least 28 people, including soldiers and civilians, have been killed in two attacks by gunmen in Burkina Faso, the regional governor and the army said in separate statements.

The army said on Monday that a combat unit in Falagountou, in the north of the country near the border with Niger, was attacked and that 10 soldiers, two volunteer fighters and one civilian were killed.

The army announced that the bodies of 15 attackers were found after the attack.

In a separate statement on Monday, Jean Charles dit Yenapono Some, the governor of the Cascades region in the country’s south near the border with Ivory Coast, said the bodies of 15 men, all civilians, had been found after Sunday’s attack.

The governor said armed men stopped two transport vehicles carrying eight women and 16 men. The women and one man were released, he said.

“This January 30, the corpses of the victims, showing signs of bullet impact, were found near the village of Linguekoro,” the governor said in a statement.

The latest killings come as Burkina Faso — and its neighbors in Mali and Niger — battle armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIL) that have seized territory in the country’s arid and largely rural north, killing hundreds of villagers and displacing almost 2 people. million people. Fighters blockaded towns and villages, exacerbating the food crisis.

On Thursday, the AFP news agency reported that at least 10 civilians were killed in two attacks in the west-central Burkina Faso town of Dassa, about 140 km (90 miles) west of the capital Ouagadougou.

With more than a third of Burkina Faso now outside government control, frustration within the military over the security situation sparked two coups last year and heightened political instability and strained relations with former colonial power France, which has been battling the armed group in the Sahel region. .

‘Down with French policy in Africa’

Thousands of protesters rallied in the capital Ouagadougou on Saturday in support of the ruling military government’s decision to order France to withdraw its contingent of around 400 troops currently stationed in the country within a month to help fight the armed fighters.

Crowding the Square of the Nation in the center of Ouagadougou, protesters held signs reading such as “Down with imperialism”, “Down with French policy in Africa” ​​and “Forward for Burkina’s sovereignty”.

“We do not want more foreign military bases on our soil,” Lazare Yameogo, spokesman for the Inter-African Revolutionary Movement, told the crowd. “We will remain vigilant until Burkina Faso is freed from Western imperialism,” he added.

The presence of French troops in former colonies in the Sahel has come under intense scrutiny as anti-French sentiment grows in the region. The military government in neighboring Mali also ordered French troops to leave, with the last contingent leaving Malian territory in August 2022.

France said Thursday it was recalling its ambassador from Burkina Faso, a day after agreeing to a request to withdraw its troops from the country.

Rinaldo Depagne of the International Crisis Group think tank said on Saturday that the decision to expel French forces from Burkina Faso was motivated by several factors.

“The government wants the country to defend itself and promote the spirit of patriotism, to seek new external partners to gain easier access to military equipment and to satisfy its political base,” Depagne said in a statement.

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