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At least 114 killed in deadliest Burkina Faso attacks since 2015

In this file photograph taken on June 27, 2012, Burkinabe soldiers patrol in a pick-up in Gorom-Gorom, northern Burkina Faso. Suspected militants have massacred at least 114 civilians in Burkina Faso’
In this file photograph taken on June 27, 2012, Burkinabe soldiers patrol in a pick-up in Gorom-Gorom, northern Burkina Faso. Suspected militants have massacred at least 114 civilians in Burkina Faso’s volatile north officials said June 5, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
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OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Suspected militants have massacred at least 114 civilians in Burkina Faso’s volatile north in the deadliest attacks since Islamist violence erupted in the west African country in 2015, officials said Saturday.اضافة اعلان

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore denounced an attack near the borders with Mali and Niger where militants linked to Al-Qaeda and Daesh have been targeting civilians and soldiers.

“We must remain united and solid against these obscurantist forces,” Kabore said, condemning a massacre that left at least 100 people dead in Solhan as “barbaric” and “despicable”.

The worst attack occurred during the night of Friday to Saturday when “armed individuals staged an incursion” into Solhan, a security source said. 

“The toll, which is still provisional, is about 100 dead, men and woman of different ages”, the source said with the government confirming the toll.

Assailants struck around 2am (0200 GMT) against a position of the Volunteers for the Defense of the Motherland (VDP), an anti-militant civilian defense force which backs the national army, before attacking homes and carrying out “executions”, a local source said.

The VDP was set up in December 2019 to help Burkina’s poorly-equipped military fight militants but it has suffered more than 200 fatalities, according to an AFP tally.

The volunteers are given two weeks’ military training, and then work alongside the security forces, typically carrying out surveillance, information-gathering, or escort duties.

The government said in a statement that “terrorists”, a term for militants, killed civilians of all ages and set fire to homes and the main market.

“In addition to the heavy human toll, the worst recorded to date, homes and the market were set on fire,” another security source said, voicing concern that the “still temporary toll of a hundred dead may increase.”

‘Neutralize these terrorists’ 

The government said that “the defense and security forces are at work to neutralize these terrorists and restore calm to populated areas.”

A security forces official said that men were deployed to secure populated areas in order to remove and bury bodies.

The authorities have declared three days of national mourning, ending Monday night at 11:59pm.

Solhan, a small community around 15km from Sebba, the main city in Yagha province, has been hit with numerous attacks in recent years.

On May 14, Defense Minister Cheriff Sy and military top brass visited Sebba to assure people that life had returned to normal, following a number of military operations.

The massive attack by suspected militants came hours after another attack Friday evening on Tadaryat village in the same region, which claimed the lives of at least 14 people, including an armed volunteer who had come to help them.

Since 2015, Burkina Faso has struggled to fight back against increasingly frequent and deadly militant attacks from groups.

The attacks first started in the north near the Mali border, but have since spread to other regions, particularly in the east.

Around 1,400 people have died and more than a million have fled their homes.

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