Suspected extremist attack on Burkina Faso village kills 130 people

Homes burned in Solhan village in one of worst attacks in country beset by jihadist violence

Suspected extremists have killed more than 130 civilians in an overnight attack on a village in northern Burkina Faso, the government said on Saturday, in one of the worst attacks in the country beset by jihadist violence.

The assailants struck during the night on Friday, killing residents of the village of Solhan in Yagha province, near the eastern border with Niger. They also burned homes and a market, the government said, describing the attackers as terrorists.

Roch Kabore, the president, lamented the attack, the worst recorded since jihadist attacks erupted across the country in 2015, destroying ordinary life for millions of mainly impoverished people. “I bow before the memory of the hundred civilians killed in this barbaric attack and extend my condolences to the families of the victims,” he said.

“Several injured have succumbed to their wounds and new bodies have been discovered. The still provisional toll is 138 deaths,” one local official said to Agence France Presse on Saturday evening. “The bodies were buried in mass graves. There are dozens injured.”

The government announced three days of national mourning, while details from the attack were still emerging on Saturday.

In a separate attack, 13 civilians and one soldier were killed by gunmen in the northern village of Tadaryat late on Friday, security sources told AFP. The gunmen raided the community’s motorbikes and cattle, local residents said.

No group has claimed responsibility. Attacks by jihadists linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State in west Africa’s Sahel region have continued to surge this year in Burkina Faso, as well as in Mali and Niger.

In 2018 there were under 200 fatalities in Burkina Faso, rising to almost 2,000 last year.

The violence in Burkina Faso has rapidly displaced more than 1 million people since 2019, while the largely arid country is also hosting around 20,000 refugees from neighbouring Mali who have fled from jihadist attacks.

Contributor

Emmanuel Akinwotu and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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