Burkina Faso: At least 51 soldiers killed in Friday attack

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Burkina Faso: at least 51 soldiers killed in an attack on Friday

Jihadist violence that emerged in 2015 in Burkina Faso has only intensified since, killing more than 10,000 civilians and soldiers.

At least 51 soldiers were killed on Friday during of an ambush by suspected jihadists in northern Burkina Faso, according to a new provisional report published Monday by the army.

This ambush in the Sahel region bordering Mali and Niger, the provisional toll of which was announced by the army on Monday, could prove to be the deadliest ever committed against the security forces since that of November 2021 in Inata (north): 57 gendarmes were then killed after unsuccessfully appealing for help.

At the end of the day on Monday, 43 new bodies were found, establishing the provisional toll at 51 fallen soldiers, the army said in a press release. She had given a toll of eight soldiers killed on Monday morning.

The army affirms that the operations continue with an intensification of the air actions which made it possible to neutralize a hundred terrorists and to destroy their materials. This figure is added to the sixty terrorists neutralized since the start of the response.

While expressing its pain at the loss of our brothers in arms who died in combat, the Army General Staff invites all of the National Armed Forces to maintain the mobilization that has made it possible to achieve important victories in recent weeks, according to the press release.

The staff also calls on the populations to the sacred union around of the Defense and Security Forces in these difficult times. It is together that we will defeat terrorism.

A moving military patrol was the victim of a complex attack on Friday between Deou and Oursi in the Sahel region, bordering Mali and Niger, the army said on Saturday without giving an assessment. She added that intense fighting had pitted members of the military unit against an armed terrorist group.

Deadly raids attributed to jihadists are increasing in Burkina. More than a hundred people – civilians and military – have died in the past two weeks, according to a tally by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Burkina Faso, the scene of two military coups in 2022, has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of jihadist violence that appeared in Mali and Niger a few years earlier and which has spread beyond their borders. .

Violence has claimed more than 10,000 lives over the past seven years – civilians and soldiers – according to NGOs, and some two million displaced.

Captain Ibrahim Traoré, transitional president resulting from a coup d'état on September 30, 2022, then set himself the objective of reconquering the approximately 40% of Burkinabe territory controlled by jihadist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. But since taking power, attacks attributed to these groups have only increased.

In an attempt to stem this worrying trend, Captain Traoré, who demanded the departure of French special forces from Ouagadougou, intends to forge new win-win partnerships with new countries, including Russia.

The Burkinabè army is under-equipped and he seeks to acquire military equipment from any country willing to provide it. However, he denied any presence of mercenaries from the Russian company Wagner, whom Westerners accuse of being present in Mali, also led by soldiers from putschs and who drove Barkhane's French forces out of their country. According to the Malian authorities, the Russians present on their territory are instructors.

We have our Wagners, they are the VDPs (Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland, civilian auxiliaries of the army) that we recruit. They are our Wagners, he said at the beginning of February.

Shortly after taking power, he launched a campaign to recruit these auxiliaries who also pay a heavy tribute to the anti-jihadist struggle. Out of an estimated need of 50,000, 90,000 have registered.

The deadliest attack ever committed in Burkina remains to date that committed in Solhan in June 2021 , which had killed 130 to 160 civilians, according to the reports. But the attack on the Inata gendarmes, left to fend for themselves in November 2021, had caused deep trauma within public opinion and the armed forces. It occurred shortly before the first coup in January 2022 which overthrew elected President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, accused of incapacity against jihadists.

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