15 soldiers killed in double bomb attack in Burkina Faso - Army

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A group of 15 Burkinabe soldiers were killed Tuesday in a double bomb attack by suspected jihadists in northern Burkina Faso, the army said in a statement.

The double attack "with an improvised explosive device occurred on the Bourzanga-Djibo axis" in the Centre-North region, the staff said. "The toll of the two incidents was 15 soldiers killed and one wounded" and also caused "material damage", it added.

It was committed "during an escort mission led by a military unit of the 14th inter-army regiment (RIA)," the staff said.

"One of the vehicles in the convoy, carrying fighters, jumped on an explosive device near the town of Namsiguia", in the province of Bam, it said, adding: "While rescue and security operations were being organised, a second device was obviously activated from a distance, causing many victims".

According to the army, "reinforcements were immediately dispatched to the scene of the incident to ensure the evacuation of victims" and "security operations are currently underway in the area".

On Monday, at least ten civilians, including four volunteers of the Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland (VDP), were killed in an attack by suspected jihadists, also in northern Burkina, according to security and local sources.

Last Thursday, nine army auxiliaries and four soldiers were killed in an attack on a unit of the military detachment of Bourzanga (north) which was coordinating an offensive action with a group of VDP, according to the army.

The north and east of Burkina Faso are the two regions most affected by jihadist attacks, but other regions are not spared.

Burkina Faso, where the military took power in January promising to make the fight against jihadism their priority, is confronted like several neighbouring countries with violence from armed jihadist movements affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which have killed thousands of people and displaced some two million since 2015.

More than 40% of Burkina's territory is outside state control, according to official figures.

On 24 January, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, who was accused of being unable to curb jihadist violence.

But the security situation has not improved and attacks attributed to jihadist groups have even multiplied in recent months, targeting civilians and soldiers alike.

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