Africa

‘Around a dozen’ Burkina Faso soldiers killed one day after jihadists kill dozens of civilians

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"Around a dozen" Burkina Faso soldiers were killed when a military patrol was ambushed overnight in Hallele in the country's volatile Soum province, a security source told AFP on Wednesday.

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The attack comes one day after jihadists in Burkina Faso killed 35 civilians, almost all of them women, when they simultaneously attacked a town in the north and its military base in one of the deadliest assaults in nearly five years of jihadist violence in the west African country.

President Roch Marc Kabore has declared two days of national mourning in response to Tuesday's deadly attack on civilians.

En mémoire des victimes civiles et militaires de l'attaque terroriste de ce mardi à Arbinda, j'ai décidé de décréter un deuil national de 48 heures sur toute l'étendue du territoire national à compter du mercredi 25 décembre à zéro (00) heure.

— Roch KABORE (@rochkaborepf) December 24, 2019

The Tuesday morning raid was carried out by dozens of jihadists on motorbikes and lasted several hours before they drove the militants back, the army said. After several hours, armed forces in Soum backed by the air force repelled the militants and seized a large number of weapons and motorbikes, the army said in a statement.

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"A large group of terrorists simultaneously attacked the military base and the civilian population in Arbinda," the army chief of staff said in a statement.

“As they fled, in a cowardly way, the terrorists killed 35 civilians of whom 31 were women,” the government said in separate statement. It said 80 militants and seven members of the security forces were killed in in this double attack, with 20 soldiers being injured, Communications minister and government spokesman Remis Dandjinou said.

Kabore praised the "bravery and commitment" of the defense and security forces in a tweet.

The incident followed an attack on a mining convoy in November which killed nearly 40 people – victims of an Islamist insurgency that has ignited ethnic tensions and rendered large parts of the country ungovernable this year.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the Tuesday attack, but jihadist violence in Burkina Faso has been blamed on militants linked to both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

560,000 internally displaced

Leaders of the G5 Sahel nations held summit talks in Niger earlier this month, calling for closer cooperation and international support in the battle against the Islamist threat.

Militant violence has spread across the vast Read More – Source