At least 18 civilians have been killed by unidentified gunmen in northern Burkina Faso, according to security sources, in the latest violence to rock a region plagued by a swiftly deteriorating security situation.
Heavily armed men on motorbikes on Saturday attacked Lamdamol village in the Bani municipality, north of the capital, Ouagadougou, a security source told AFP news agency on Monday.
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A local health official, speaking from the town of Dori in the north, said the village’s chief nurse was among the victims.
“There is panic in the village and the surrounding area,” the official told AFP, saying local people were fleeing towards the centre of the country.
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.
A number of similar incidents occurred a week ago in the country’s north, with one on January 25 leaving 39 civilians dead in the neighbouring province of Soum, northwest of Seno.
Burkina Faso borders Mali to the northwest and Niger to the east, with all three Sahelian countries struggling to contain increasingly frequent attacks on civilians and army positions.
The rise in violence in the Sahel, a semi-arid swath of land beneath the Sahara where multiple armed groups are active, has fed a feeling of increased insecurity among locals.
Last month, the United Nations envoy for West Africa told the Security Council that attacks have increased fivefold in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger since 2016, as more than 4,000 deaths were reported in 2019.
“The military capabilities to cover this wide area is a challenge,” Michael Amoah, a visiting fellow at London School of Economics.