Burkina Faso: At least 100 killed by gunmen in ‘barbaric’ attack on village, government says

At least 100 people have been killed by gunmen in a “barbaric” attack on a village in Burkina Faso, the country’s deadliest in years, authorities have said.

The local market and several homes in Solhan – a northern village in Yagha province bordering Niger, in the Sahel region of Africa – were also burned down, government spokesman Ousseni Tamboura said in a statement.

He blamed jihadists for the attack, which took place during the night on Friday.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore described the assault as “barbaric”.

Heni Nsaibia, senior researcher at the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, said it was the deadliest attack recorded in Burkina Faso since the West African country was overrun by jihadists linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State about five years ago.

“It is clear that militant groups have shifted up gears to aggravate the situation in Burkina Faso, and moved their efforts to areas outside the immediate reach of the French-led counter-terrorism coalition fighting them in the tri-state border region,” he said.

Jihadist violence is increasing in the Sahel, despite the presence of more than 5,000 French troops, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

In March, attackers killed 137 people in coordinated raids on villages in southwestern Niger.

In April, more than 50 people, including two Spanish journalists and an Irish conservationist, were killed in Burkina Faso in the space of a week.

More than one million people in the country have been internally displaced and it is also hosting some 20,000 refugees from neighbouring Mali.

The government has declared 72 hours of mourning following the latest attack.

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