June 18, 2024

The government of Burkina Faso has announced that it will take a new approach to the fight against terrorism, with the aim of reducing the number of people killed in the country’s wars.

The prosecutor of the court of Ouahigouya, Lamine Kaboré, wrote in a statement sent to AFP to have been informed by the gendarmerie of the city “that in the village of Karma”, located in the province of Yatenga, “about sixty people would have been killed by people wearing uniforms of our national armed forces.”

“The wounded were evacuated and are currently being treated in our health facilities,” he added, adding that “the perpetrators of these acts have taken various goods.

The prosecutor said that, “seized of these facts whose seriousness is proven”, he had “given the necessary instructions (…) in order to elucidate them and to arrest all those involved”.

He called on “all those who have information about these events” to “report them”.

According to residents contacted by AFP, survivors said that “more than a hundred people on motorbikes and pickup trucks raided Karma last Thursday. Dozens of men and youths were executed by these men dressed in military uniforms. These survivors put the death toll “close to 80”.

The massacre came a week after six soldiers and 34 Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland (VDP) were killed in an attack by suspected jihadists near the village of Aorema, about 15km from Ouahigouya.

The village of Karma is about 40 km from Aorema, near the Malian border, and attracts many illegal gold miners.

– Punitive expedition” –

In early April, Burkina Faso’s military justice system announced that it would conduct an investigation to shed “all possible light” on the death of several civilians during “serious altercations” with soldiers in Dori, also in the north of the country.

According to the prefect of the town, Abrahamane Mande, soldiers had fired automatic weapons and hit citizens, “causing loss of life and injuries among the population”.

Residents of Dori had said that it was a “punitive expedition” carried out by soldiers after the assassination of a soldier, which was confirmed by the Burkinabe movement for human and people’s rights (MBDHP).

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

The violence has left more than 10,000 civilians and soldiers dead over the past seven years, according to NGOs, and some two million people displaced.

Burkina Faso’s transitional president, Captain Ibrahim Traore, who came to power in a coup in September 2022, signed a one-year “general mobilisation” decree on Wednesday, allowing for the requisition of “young people aged 18 and over” to go and fight the jihadists who are bloodying the country.

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