A new deadly attack has bereaved Monday, September 5, Burkina Faso. At least 35 civilians were killed and 37 others injured when an improvised explosive device exploded as a supply convoy passed through the north of the country.
“One of the vehicles transporting civilians in the said convoy exploded on contact with an improvised explosive device”, explains a press release from the governor of the Sahel region, Lieutenant-Colonel Rodolphe Sorgho. These convoys, escorted by the army, supply towns in the north subject to a blockade by jihadist groups.
“The escort elements quickly secured the perimeter and took measures to provide assistance to the victims. The injured were taken care of and the difficult cases were evacuated to appropriate structures”continues the press release, which specifies that the convoy was leaving the north of the country to go to the capital, Ouagadougou.
Merchants and students
“The supply convoy was made up of civilian drivers and traders”told Agence France-Presse (AFP) a security source. “There were several dozen vehicles including trucks and public transport buses. The victims are mainly traders who were going to get supplies in Ouagadougou and students who were returning to the capital for the next school year.told Agence France-Presse (AFP) a resident of Djibo who wishes to remain anonymous.
At the beginning of August, fifteen soldiers were killed on the same Djibo-Bourzanga axis in a double improvised explosive device attack. In recent weeks, jihadist groups have used dynamite to destroy places located on the main axes leading to the two major cities in northern Burkina, Dori and Djibo, in an attempt to isolate them.
Dialogue with certain armed groups
Burkina Faso – in particular the north and the east – is confronted like several of its neighbors with the violence of armed movements affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which since 2015 have caused thousands of deaths and some two million displaced. January 24, soldiers took power in a putsch claiming to want to make security their priority.
Sunday evening, in a speech to the nation delivered from the city of Dori (north-east), the president of the transition, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, had welcomed a “relative calm” in several localities. The government claims to have intensified the “offensive action” of the army and has also launched a process of dialogue with certain armed groups, through religious and customary leaders. This process allowed, according to Mr. Damiba, to “several dozen young people” to lay down arms.
However, attacks have remained numerous since the beginning of the year, such as the massacre in Seytenga (north) in June, where 86 civilians were killed. Since last year, Burkina has become the epicenter of violence in the Sahel, with more deadly attacks than in Mali or Niger in 2021, according to the non-governmental organization Acled (acronym forArmed Conflict Location & Event Data Project – Data Project on Locations and Events of Armed Conflicts, in French). More than 40% of Burkina’s territory is outside state control, according to official figures.