Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso — At least 55 people were killed over the weekend in northern Burkina Faso, officials said Monday.
Government spokesman Wendkouni Joel Lionel Birgo said at a news conference that the suspected militants had targeted civilians in Seitenga, Seno. The government has set the official toll to 55, but other governments have set this number much higher.
Attacks related to al-Qaeda and ISIS groups are skyrocketing in Burkina Faso, especially in the north. Jihadists killed at least 160 people in an attack in the town of Solhan in June 2021.
In January, rebels promised to expel the democratically elected president and protect the country, but violence has only increased. The government is calling on people to continue to unite in the fight against armed groups.
No group claimed a weekend attack, but conflict analysts say it was most likely carried out by the ISIS group.
“In recent weeks, the Islamic State of Greater Sahara has been the most aggressive group, especially in Seno and Udaran. In addition to attacks on security forces, civilians have also been targeted,” focusing on economics and policy. Lida Ryammori, a senior researcher at the New South Policy Center, a Moroccan-based organization that has addressed the issue, said.
“This is a big blow to security forces, putting them on their hind legs again, showing that they are far from being able to secure the area and protect civilians,” he said.
In Burkina Faso, nearly 5,000 people have died in the last two years as a result of violence blaming Islamic extremists. An additional 2 million people have been displaced, deepening the country’s humanitarian crisis.