Twenty civilians, including women and children, were killed between Monday and Wednesday in two attacks by suspected jihadists in central-eastern Burkina Faso, security and local sources told AFP on Friday.
On Wednesday, "armed groups carried out an incursion into Bilguimdouré", a village in the commune of Sangha, in the province of Koulpélogo (center-east), bordering Ghana and Togo, "causing a dozen deaths", indicated to AFP a local official.
Two days earlier, "another terrorist incursion into the neighboring village of Kaongo had caused the death of at least eleven people including women and children", he continued.
During these two attacks, "houses and shops were set on fire by the attackers who also took away livestock", according to the same source.
These attacks were confirmed by security sources, stating that "security operations are underway in the region", without giving details on the results of the incursions.
Joined by AFP, nationals of the commune of Sangha also confirmed the two attacks, affirming that the "desperate populations are trying to flee their localities, fearing new attacks".
According to these residents, armed groups summoned the population of Soudougui, another town in the province, "to empty several villages under penalty of reprisals in the following days".
The province of Koulpélogo, where a curfew has been in effect for several months, is the target of recurring attacks despite anti-jihadist operations carried out by the army and its civilian auxiliaries.
In mid-April, at least 24 people, including 20 Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP), civilian army auxiliaries, were killed in two attacks by suspected jihadists in the Center-East region, near the borders of Ghana and Togo.
Burkina, 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.
The violence over the past seven years has killed more than 10,000 civilians and soldiers, according to NGOs, and more than two million internally displaced persons.
On Friday, the Australian government announced that one of its nationals, Kenneth Elliott , an 88-year-old doctor, had been released seven years after he was kidnapped by jihadists linked to al-Qaeda in Burkina Faso. He returned to Australia on Thursday evening.