Burkina: Fifteen civilians killed in ‘simultaneous attacks’ this weekend

Fifteen civilians, including three army auxiliaries, were killed Saturday in “simultaneous attacks” by suspected jihadists in eastern Burkina Faso, local and security sources told AFP on Tuesday.

These “simultaneous and synchronized attacks” took place in two neighborhoods of Diapaga, capital of the eastern province of Tapoa, and caused the death of fifteen people, a local resident told AFP, a attack and a death toll confirmed by a civil society representative in the province.

“Fifteen people, including three Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland (VDP, civilian auxiliaries of the army) and twelve civilians fell under the murderous bullets of men without faith or law”, who “led this attack”, indicate in a written note. by a spokesperson for civil society organizations, Kondia Pierre Yonli.

“The population, in total dismay, took them to their final resting place on Sunday, November 19 at the Diapaga Municipal Cemetery,” he said.

“In tribute to these men who fell with weapons in hand (…) this Tuesday a ghost town day will be celebrated in the entire extension of the communal territory of Diapaga”, he indicated, and specified which markets, schools “and all public services will remain closed”.

Confirming the attack, a security source said that “the response of the defense forces made it possible to repel the attackers and neutralize several dozen”. “An air-ground operation is underway in the eastern region and has already made it possible to neutralize more than fifty terrorists and dismantle several of their bases,” he said.

Since 2015, Burkina has been caught in a spiral of violence perpetrated by jihadist groups affiliated with the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda that were already hitting neighboring Mali and Niger.

They have so far caused more than 17,000 civilian and military deaths over the past eight years, including more than 6,000 since the beginning of 2023, according to the NGO Acled, which lists the victims of conflicts around the world.

This violence has also caused the displacement of more than two million people within the country, according to the National Council for Emergency Aid and Rehabilitation (Conasur).