(Ouagadougou) At least 24 people, including 20 civilian army auxiliaries, were killed on Tuesday in two attacks by suspected jihadists in central-eastern Burkina Faso, security and local sources said on Wednesday.

“Terrorist groups carried out an attack yesterday [Tuesday] in the locality of Zekézé”, a village in the commune of Bittou, near the Togolese and Ghanaian borders, according to a local official.

“The provisional toll of the attack is 16 volunteers for the defense of the homeland (VDP, army auxiliaries) and four civilians killed”, he added, specifying that “several VDP” were still not found. Wednesday: “we fear that the balance sheet will be higher”.

He further claimed that “more than a dozen terrorists were killed in the response to the attack”.

A security source confirmed the attack, assuring that an “official report will be communicated later”.

A local VDP official also confirmed this attack, adding that “at least” four other auxiliaries had been killed in the same region of the center-east near the town of Yourkoudghin, during a second clash during which “a ten terrorists” were killed.

On Wednesday morning, several hundred people demonstrated in Bittou, demanding “more security” for the population through “the deployment of security forces in support of the VDPs”, according to residents contacted by AFP.

Since their creation in December 2019, the VDPs, which intervene alongside the armed forces, have paid a heavy price in the fight against jihadists,

Between Saturday and Sunday, 32 of these auxiliaries and 10 soldiers were killed in two attacks in the north of the country.

Last week, in the face of this jihadist violence, the transitional authorities in Burkina Faso resulting from a coup d’etat decreed “general mobilization” which gives them in particular “the right to request people, goods and services”. .

Burkina Faso, the scene of two military coups in 2022, has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of jihadist violence that appeared in Mali and Niger a few years earlier and which has spread beyond their borders.

The violence left more than 10,000 dead in all – civilians and soldiers – according to NGOs, and some two million displaced.