OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Armed assailants killed at least 22 civilians in northwest Burkina Faso on Monday, a local official said, the latest deadly attack in an area marred by militant activity.
The attackers raided a rural commune in the province of Kossi, around 55 kilometres from the border with Mali, in the hours between late Sunday night and early Monday morning, regional governor Babo Pierre Bassinga said in a statement.
“The provisional death toll of this terrorist attack is 22 dead, several wounded and material damage,” it said.
Military forces have been deployed to the scene and measures are in place host those who fled to nearby cities, the statement added.
Burkina Faso has been battling Islamist militants active in northern regions, some with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, since 2015.
The fighting has displaced more than 1.85 million in the West African country alone and killed thousands across the Sahel, where militant activity that took root in Mali has spread over the past decade.
Army officers angry about the escalating attacks overthrew Burkina Faso’s president in January and vowed to improve security, but levels of violence have remained high.
Armed men killed at least 100 civilians in another rural district in northern Burkina Faso last month, the deadliest attack the country has seen in at least a year.
(Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by David Gregorio)