Ouagadougou (AFP) — Jihadists killed at least three soldiers and eight civilian auxiliaries in an attack Saturday in Burkina Faso’s volatile north, security sources told AFP.
The soldiers, who were patrolling with the auxiliaries, were caught in an ambush in the district of Bouroum, said one source.
Another source, confirming the attack, said the toll could rise, adding that two people were still unaccounted for. The ambush had happened near Silmangue, in Namentenga province, the source said.
The latest attack comes after a September 30 coup that ousted Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba — who himself seized power in January — and a day after 34-year-old captain Ibrahim Traore was named as his successor as transitional president.
One of the world’s poorest nations, Burkina Faso has a long history of coups since independence from France in 1960.
The latest are rooted in unrest within army ranks over the jihadist insurgency that swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015.
Thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million have been displaced and more than a third of the country lies outside government control.
Traore has vowed to uphold a pledge that Damiba made for a return to civilian government by July 2024 at the latest.
But like Damiba before him, Traore defended the coup on the grounds that the authorities were failing to do enough against the jihadists.
Damiba fled on October 2 after a weekend of violent protests that also targeted the French embassy and saw demonstrators raise Russian flags.