Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
France 24
France 24

At least 14 members of Burkina Faso security forces killed in terror attack

The terrorist attack happened in a small city nearing Kaya, which Burkina Faso's junta leader Ibrahim Traoré visited on Wednesday. The aeriel view of the Centre-North region city is shown in this photo taken on November 16, 2020. © Olympia de Maismont, AFP

Four soldiers and 10 volunteers with the military were killed on Wednesday in northern Burkina Faso, in a terrorist attack that coincided with a visit by the country's military leader in the same Centre-North region, a security source said Thursday.

The attack on Wednesday in Zorkoum, near the city of Kaya, targeted a unit of soldiers and members of the Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland (VDP), the source said.

"We have sadly lost four soldiers and 10 volunteers. On the enemy's side, around 20 soldiers were neutralised," the source said. Another security source said "several" members of the security forces were killed, while a local official confirmed the attack but did not give a toll.

The unit in Zorkoum had been tasked with providing security for workers fixing the water supplies for Kaya, around 10 kilometres away, which have come under frequent attack, the local source said.

Junta leader Captain Ibrahim Traore had arrived in Kaya early Wednesday for a 48-hour visit.

He went to the site of the attack "several hours later" to "pay tribute to the bravery of the forces, who repelled the attack and inflicted enormous casualties", a senior security official said.

The government spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday's attack.

Burkina Faso is battling a terrorist insurgency that spilled over from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

Insurgents in the country's north and east have mined roads, besieged towns, wrecked water facilities and undermined efforts to deliver food and supplies to trapped civilians.

More than 10,000 civilians, troops and police have been killed, according to one NGO estimate, and at least two million people have been displaced.

Anger within the military at failures to roll back the offensive led to two coups last year.

Junta’s response concentrated on VDP's military-trained civilians

Vowing to recover lost territory after he came to power in September, Traore has staked much of his strategy on the VDP. Its members are civilian volunteers who are given two weeks' military training and then work alongside the army, typically carrying out surveillance, information-gathering or escort duties.

But the force has suffered heavy casualties since its creation in December 2019, targeted by roadside bombs, ambushes and hit-and-run raids by jihadists riding on motorbikes.

Five VDP members were among 11 civilians who were killed in attacks on Sunday and Monday in the country's east and centre-east.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP & Reuters)

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.