Forty-four civilians were killed by “terrorist armed groups” in northeastern Burkina Faso, near the border with Niger, according to local authorities.
The provisional figure resulting from “this despicable act” in the towns of Kourakou and Tondobi, in Burkina Faso, is “44 civilians killed and others injured,” Rodolphe Sorgho, deputy governor of the Sahel region, announced this Saturday, April 8.
Sorgho said that 31 people died in Kourakou and 13 in Tondobi.
The regional official stressed that the country’s Army is preparing an offensive “as a result of the actions of the armed terrorist groups” responsible for the massacre.” In addition, he assured that the Government is making decisions to “stabilize the area.”
This impoverished Sahel region has been suffering from an offensive campaign by jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the self-styled Islamic State for seven years.
As reported by the AFP agency, a resident of Kourakou assured that the attack happened last Thursday night, when “a large group of terrorists broke into the town.”
“We heard shots all night. It was Friday morning that we saw that there were several dozen dead,” he added.
The residents assured that their towns were the object of the attack as revenge for a lynching of two alleged jihadists who, a few days before, had tried to steal cattle.
This massacre is one of the deadliest since the military Ibrahim Traoré came to power, following a coup carried out last September.
In February, 51 soldiers were killed in Deou, in the north of the country. Near the sites of the latest attack, in Seytenga, 86 civilians lost their lives in June last year.
Burkina Faso’s military leader this week promised a new “dynamic offensive” against the jihadists. “The dynamic offensive that has been launched in recent weeks will be increased to force armed groups to lay down their arms,” announced newly appointed Colonel Celestin Simpore.
Since the jihadists began their armed campaign in Mali in 2015, more than 10,000 civilians, soldiers and police have been killed and more than two million people have been displaced.
Official figures say that these armed groups control approximately 40% of the country’s territory.
Ending the violence in the country was precisely Traoré’s promise when he came to power after another military coup. However, since the beginning of the year, the jihadists have dealt heavy blows to the military and civilian infrastructure.
Since Traoré took over the leadership of Burkina Faso, the activity of civil organizations and other political parties have been suspended.
This article has been translated from its original in English