2 Burkinabe soldiers killed and 15 suspected jihadists neutralized in attack on military detachment

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Burkina Faso's military headquarters said Monday that two soldiers were killed in an attack on a military detachment in northern Burkina Faso and 15 suspected jihadists "neutralised" in a counter-offensive.

"The soldiers of the Kelbo detachment, Soum province, Sahel region, repelled a terrorist attack that targeted their base on Monday morning with shellfire", the army said, adding that "two soldiers were killed and nine wounded in the fighting".

According to the army, the response "of the elements of the detachment routed the attackers" and "air support was deployed to intercept the group of attackers who were trying to escape".

"At least 15 terrorists were neutralised," the statement added.

Three armed pickups were destroyed, another recovered, 27 motorbikes, a large quantity of heavy and light weaponry, various ammunition and means of communication were also seized, the army said.

Encouraging the armed forces "to continue in this dynamic which is increasingly challenging the armed terrorist groups", the Chief of Staff, Colonel David Kaboré, praised "the bravery of the entire detachment".

The military seized power in Burkina Faso last January promising to make the fight against jihadism their priority. The Sahelian nation has been caught up in a spiral of violence since 2015, attributed to armed jihadist movements affiliated to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which has left thousands dead and 1.9 million displaced.

In June, West Africa's mediator for the country said the Burkinabe authorities only control 60 percent of the country's territory.

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