Burkina Faso: Five civilians killed in attack, army says

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"Five civilians were killed Sunday in an attack by suspected jihadists on a military detachment in Barsalogho, northern Burkina Faso, the army said.

"On Sunday morning, fighting broke out between elements of the military detachment in Barsalogho", in the north-central region, "and an armed terrorist group that had come to attack the detachment's hold. At the same time, another group of terrorists targeted civilians," the military said in a statement.

The toll was "five civilians, including a child", killed, as well as "eight wounded soldiers who were evacuated and treated", the army said.

Air and ground operations were immediately launched to track down the attackers, "and several air strikes were carried out on groups that were trying to retreat to a terrorist base located in Bangmiougou, near Barsalogho," according to the army, which said that "several terrorists were neutralised and the logistical base was destroyed.

The French force Barkhane regularly provides air support to Burkinabe military operations.

Like its neighbours Niger and Mali, Burkina Faso 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.

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

The country has become the epicentre of violence in the Sahel, with more deadly attacks than Mali or Niger in 2021, according to the NGO Acled.

At the end of January, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, who was accused of being unable to curb jihadist violence, and made the restoration of security his "priority".

But the security situation in Burkina has not improved, with the country still regularly targeted by deadly attacks.

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