Around 30 members of the security forces were wounded in the attack near the border with Mali and Niger, the army general staff said. The attacked military unit was stationed in the town of Koumbri in Yatenga province in northern Burkina Faso to enable the resettlement of displaced people. The residents were driven out of the region by extremists more than two years ago. The security forces, in turn, killed “several dozen” opponents, it was said. The fighting is still ongoing. These are the heaviest fighting in months.
Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been trying to push back the growing influence of armed groups in the north of the country. Some of them have sworn allegiance to the terrorist network “Islamic State” or the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. This year the attacks have intensified. The groups are also active in the neighboring states of Mali and Niger.
Last year there were two military coups in Burkina Faso, with its 21 million inhabitants. The military government under General Ibrahim Traore, which came to power in October, has so far tried in vain to push back the jihadists. The military expelled French forces involved in the fight against the extremists. The army is trying to compensate for the reduced military effectiveness with volunteer fighters, who are mainly deployed in the north of the West African country.
More than two million people are on the run within Burkina Faso. The terrorist groups now control around half of the country’s territory.
se/mak (afp, dpa, rtr, ap)