AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - The number of the latest jihadist attacks worsens

Wednesday, 22 February 2023 jihadists   bishops  

Ouagadougou (Agenzia Fides) - At least 70 soldiers have been killed in four days in two different clashes with jihadist groups in northern Burkina Faso.
The bloodiest clash dates back to February 17 when at least 51 soldiers were killed in an ambush between Déou and Oursi, near the borders with Mali and Niger. The soldiers, who had just been replaced after several months on the front lines, were attacked as they returned to their base in Dori.
According to a Burkina Faso Defense source, at least 15 other soldiers were killed on February 20 when the Tin-Akoff detachment in the north, near
near the border with Mali "suffered a violent attack". Other sources speak of an even more serious toll with 19 dead and dozens missing.
Civilian victims are added to the victims among the military. The latest assault on a town in the north of the country dates back to February 13, when several dozen men on motorbikes attacked the town of Sanakadougou, in the province of Kossi. At least 12 people died and six were injured. Almost the entire town was burned down, forcing its inhabitants to abandon it without being able to take anything with them.
The intensification of attacks by jihadist groups occurs at the moment when the last French troops leave the territory of Burkina Faso, due to disagreements with the military junta that took power with a second Putsch last September.
The serious situation of insecurity has been reiterated by the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger (another country hit by the jihadist wave) who, at the end of their Plenary Assembly, invited the Christian faithful and people of good will to pray and show concrete solidarity with those "who are directly affected by the consequences of this unjust war imposed on the country". "We call for the united efforts of the sons and daughters of Burkina Faso to face terrorism and all its dramatic consequences".
In addition to the victims, at least 10,000 in seven years, the violence has caused the exodus of entire populations from the most insecure areas. It is estimated that there are more than 2 million internally displaced people in Burkina Faso, exacerbating the already precarious humanitarian situation in the country. The World Food Program announced at the end of 2022 that about 3.5 million people will need emergency food aid in the coming months. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/2/2023)