The African Union described this Sunday as a war crime the killing of 160 civilians, including about twenty children, in Solhan, a town in Burkina Faso ravaged for years by jihadism. “Burkina Faso has just suffered the deadliest terrorist attack in its history. This act perpetrated against the civilian population, including children, is a true war crime and must be treated as such, “said the president of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, as the flags of the whole country were placed at half-mast as a sign of mourning.
Burkina will celebrate three days of mourning decreed by President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, who asked the nation to stand together “against the forces of evil,” without ever identifying the perpetrators of the largest massacre to have occurred in the country since 2015. Al less 40 people were injured and dozens of houses were also set on fire. The deceased have been buried in mass graves and thousands of inhabitants have left their villages in search of the refuge of the most populated cities or those with the greatest military presence.
The massacre, perpetrated in the early hours of Saturday, was carried out in two phases. In the first, the insurgents attacked the anti-jihadist militia Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland, a controversial brigade created by the Government to carry out security and information tasks, but which the NGOs denounce for carrying out summary executions against civilians they consider suspects. .
The terrorists then fired “blindly” at neighbors they encountered or raided houses to riddle their residents. It so happens that this Sunday, while the victims were being buried, a second assault took place by some two hundred armed individuals, who took livestock and food.
Moussa Faki Mahamat called on the international community to have a “swift and energetic reaction against terrorists in Burkina Faso and throughout the Sahel region.” An appeal that coincided with the “strong condemnation” of the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, for “this atrocious attack.” The United Nations leader, through his spokesman, stressed “the urgent need for the international community to redouble its support for member states in the fight against violent extremism and its unacceptable human cost.” The condemnations also extended to the EU and the Vatican, where Pope Francis stressed that “Africa needs peace and non-violence.”
Solhan is located in the most unstable triangle in the territory, a region that shares a border with Niger and Mali where the assaults are continuous. Not only by terrorists, but by groups of bandits and cattle thieves where jihadism has managed to infiltrate to spread chaos and terror among civilians while seeking to found an Islamic state. Between Thursday and yesterday, more than a hundred people have been killed in those countries in two armed attacks.