The mayor of a village in northern Burkina Faso reported that armed militants shot and murdered at least eight people who were gathering water on Monday morning, raising the total number of persons killed in the restive region’s three days of violence to at least 30.
There have been multiple violent attacks by Islamist militant groups affiliated to al Qaeda and ISIS in the province of Soum, which has been trying for years to establish control over a large stretch of desert in the region. Monday’s incident took place in Arbinda.
Water towers and pumps have recently been targeted by rebels, according to Mayor Boureima Werem, who spoke to Reuters.
As many as 15 people were killed, including 13 military police officers, in separate incidents in the northern Burkina Faso province of Namentenga on Sunday, according to the military police, and nine people were killed in an attack on an informal gold mine in the province of Oudalan on Saturday, according to a security source.
Violence in the Sahel area south of the Sahara Desert has killed thousands and driven more than 2 million people to abandon their homes. Although hundreds of foreign forces are stationed there, the killings continue, weakening trust in the region’s democratic governments.
The absence of government authority in Burkina Faso sparked protests in January that ultimately to a military coup. In August of 2020, a military junta seized control of Mali.
In 2012, jihadists seized control of Mali’s desert north, leading France to engage in an effort to retake the territory. Despite this, the militants have regrouped and gained ground in recent years.