Gunmen killed 15 civilians in northern Burkina Faso over the weekend, security and local sources said Monday, in the latest deadly attack as the impoverished West African country battles a jihadist revolt.
“On Saturday night numerous armed individuals attacked the village of Pobe-Mengao and kidnapped several residents, ransacked shops and carried away equipment,” a local source said.
A security source said “the lifeless bodies of 11 people were found on Sunday morning… probably the bodies of those abducted the day before in Pobe-Mengao by an armed terrorist group”.
The local source said that “after the attackers departed, the population started to leave the village to take refuge in Djibo — particularly after the bodies were discovered.”
Djibo, the capital of the Soum province, is 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Pobe-Mengao.
The gunmen returned to Pobe-Mengao on Sunday morning, where they “shot in the air for several hours before leaving,” said the source, who is a Djibo resident, quoting testimonies from the displaced villagers.
Four more bodies were found after the second onslaught, the source told AFP, bringing the death toll to at least 15.
The security source said that reinforcements had been sent to patrol the area.
Soum is one of a swathe of provinces in northern Burkina Faso that have been battling with a four-year-old wave of jihadist violence that came from neighbouring Mali.
The attacks — typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings — have claimed around 640 lives nationally, according to an AFP toll.
Nearly 500,000 people have been internally displaced.
More than 10,000 people marched in the capital Ouagadougou on Saturday to express their support for the country’s security forces, which are badly-equipped, poorly trained and under-funded.