Fifteen civilians, including three army auxiliaries, were killed in “simultaneous attacks” by suspected jihadists on Saturday in eastern Burkina Faso, local and security sources told AFP on Tuesday.
These “simultaneous and synchronised attacks” took place in two neighbourhoods of Diapaga, the capital of Tapoa province in the east of the country, and left fifteen people dead, a local resident told AFP, an attack and death toll confirmed by a representative of the province’s civil society.
“Fifteen people, including three Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland (VDP, civilian auxiliaries to the army) and twelve civilians, were killed by the murderous bullets of lawless men” who “carried out this attack”, said Kondia Pierre Yonli, a spokesman for civil society organisations, in a written note.
“The population, in total disarray, took them to their final resting place on Sunday 19 November at the Diapaga municipal cemetery”, he added.
“In tribute to these men who fell to their deaths (…) a day of ‘ville morte’ will be observed throughout the Diapaga municipality on Tuesday”, he said, adding that markets, schools “and all public services will remain closed”.
Confirming the attack, a security source said that “the response of the defence forces repelled the attackers and neutralised several dozen of them”. “An air-land operation is underway in the eastern region and has already neutralised more than fifty terrorists and dismantled several of their bases”.
Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been caught up in a spiral of violence perpetrated by jihadist groups affiliated to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, which were already striking neighbouring Mali and Niger.
To date, more than 17,000 civilians and soldiers have been killed over the past eight years, including more than 6,000 since the beginning of 2023, according to the NGO Acled, which tracks the victims of conflicts around the world.
The violence has also led to the internal displacement of more than two million people, according to the National Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (Conasur).