A group of yet unidentified armed attackers, who the Burkina Faso government called terrorists, attacked the village of Solhan in the northern province of Yagha, on the border with Niger, on Friday night. The attack leaves around 100 dead, according to figures provided by the Government, making it the worst attack in years in the country.
Around 100 human lives have so far been cut off by allegedly terrorist violence in northern Burkina Faso, which has faced an increase in terrorist attacks in recent years. President Roch Marc Christian Kabore called the attack “barbaric.”
On Friday night a group of armed men stormed the village of Solhan in the northern province of Yagha, on the border with Niger. In addition to the deceased, the attackers left burned houses and the scorched market in their wake, according to the Government, which has declared 72 hours of national mourning.
At the moment, no group has claimed responsibility for an attack, which, according to figures provided by the Government, is the deadliest in the last five years, since the West African country was invaded by jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Heni Nsaibia, principal investigator of the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, told the AP agency.
“It is clear that the militant groups have shifted gears to aggravate the situation in Burkina Faso and have shifted their efforts to areas beyond the immediate reach of the French-led anti-terrorist coalition fighting them in the three-state border region,” he said. in reference to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
Six years of ever-increasing insecurity
The year 2015 marked a turning point in the country. That year, jihadist terrorist groups allied with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State began attacking the Sahel region, in which Burkina Faso is located. As a consequence, the country has around 1.14 million displaced people out of a population of 20 million people.
In addition, there are an estimated 20,000 refugees from neighboring Mali, who are also fleeing jihadist violence in their country. During the month of March, in Burkina Faso 137 people died in the south of the country in rounds similar to the one on Friday. In April, more than 50 people died in a week, including two Spanish journalists and an Irish conservationist.
During the month of May, at least 30 other people were killed in the east of the country. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré assured in 2016, after an attack in which 30 people died, having “the conviction that in national unity and cohesion we will be victorious in this war that they impose on our people and all the other peoples of the world.” .
Five years later, and after being reelected in elections in which around 20% of the population could not vote due to problems of insecurity, Kaboré still does not know how to respond to the problem of terrorism.
France, increasingly present in the Sahel
Last February the French executive announced the sending of 600 more soldiers to the Sahel to help in the jihadist fight, thus adding a total of 5,100 soldiers. At that time, President Emmanuel Macron called on other European countries to join forces, although there was no positive response.
Despite this deployment, the attacks have continued to increase without, for the moment, the local armies or France having been able to prevent it. Burkina Faso’s army does not have adequate equipment and even asked for volunteer fighters last year to face the jihadist threat.
In Mali, another of the countries most affected by terrorism, political instability, consummated with the military coup, does not help to find a solution either. This same week France decided to suspend joint operations with the Malian army in response to the coup.
With Reuters, AP and local media.