(Ouagadougou) Ten soldiers and thirty-two civilian auxiliaries of the Burkina Faso army were killed on Saturday and Sunday in two attacks in the north of the country, which this week decreed “general mobilization” against recurrent jihadist violence.
On Saturday, a “military detachment and Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland [VDP, civilian auxiliaries of the army] was the target of an attack by unidentified armed men”, around 4 p.m., near Aorema, about fifteen kilometers from Ouahigouya, according to a press release from the governorate of the North region, published on Sunday.
The army affirms that “the balance sheet is forty combatants” dead (eight soldiers and thirty-two VDP) and adds that “at least 50 terrorists” were “neutralized” in a “response” in particular air of the army.
Sunday, “early in the morning”, “another attack targeted the military detachment of Kongoussi (Bam province, Center-North region)”, indicates the same source, which reports “two soldiers” killed and a “twenty neutralized terrorists”.
The governorate of the North region indicates in its press release that “33 wounded” from the first attack are “in stable condition” and “treated at the Regional University Hospital Center of Ouahigouya”, capital of the North region. The army writes that “two wounded” from the second attack were also “evacuated for treatment”.
According to a security source contacted by AFP, the detachment targeted by Saturday’s attack ensured “the security of the Ouahigouya aerodrome which was targeted”.
“Heavy fighting did indeed take place yesterday [Saturday] evening” for “nearly two hours,” a townsman testified.
He also claims that “several airstrikes targeted positions of suspected jihadists” on Friday.
On Thursday, the transitional authorities in Burkina Faso – who came to power in a coup in September, the second in eight months – decreed “general mobilization” and “warning”, in order to “give the State all necessary means” to deal with the jihadist attacks that are hitting the country.
With these measures, they will have in particular “the right to request people, goods and services”, but also “the right to call for defense employment, individually or collectively”.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Defense launched an operation dubbed “Empty Attics”, calling on all military personnel in the country, active or retired, to donate their uniforms for soldiers currently in the field.
Burkina Faso has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of jihadist violence that appeared in Mali and Niger a few years earlier, which has spread beyond their borders.
Last week, 44 civilians were killed in an attack on two villages in northeastern Burkina, near the Niger border.
The violence left more than 10,000 dead – civilians and soldiers – according to NGOs, and some two million displaced.
In February, the transitional president, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, expressed his “intact determination” to fight the jihadists, despite the increase in attacks.