Suspected Al-Qaeda Jihadist Kill 18

Security sources on Friday have reported that two suspected jihadist attacks killed at least 18 people, including 16 auxiliaries supporting the army, in Burkina Faso, .

Thursday’s attacks in the north and northwest of the country were the latest to hit a civilian auxiliary force that supports the military in a seven-year fight against jihadists.

Landlocked Burkina Faso in West Africa is one of the poorest and most volatile nations in the world.

Since 2015, it has been grappling with an insurgency led by jihadists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group that has killed tens of thousands and displaced around two million people.

Thursday’s “first attack targeted an advance party of Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland (VDP) in Rakoegtenga,” a town in the northern province of Bam, a VDP official said.

Six auxiliaries and a woman died in the attack, the same official said.

Around 10 people were wounded, including some seriously, who were “evacuated to Ouagadougou for appropriate care,” the VDP official said.

He said the second attack killed around 10 auxiliaries and a person in Nayala province in the northwest “in the afternoon when a convoy escorted by auxiliaries and soldiers was ambushed on the Siena-Saran road”.

Security sources confirmed two “jihadist attacks” but gave no precise death toll, referring only to “a number of losses”.

The VDP, set up in December 2019, comprises civilian volunteers who are given two weeks’ military training and then work alongside the army, typically carrying out surveillance, information-gathering or escort duties.

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