Authorities accuse jihadist groups of massacres of civilians in Burkina Faso | ANG
  • May 29, 2024

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Burkina Faso’s ruling military regime on Monday accused jihadist groups of carrying out massacres against civilians in the north of the country, urging people to “give no credence” to images of abuses committed by armed men portrayed as Burkina Faso soldiers.

Since the beginning of December, several videos have been widely posted on social networks accusing the army of committing acts of violence against civilians in the Djibo area (north).

“The government invites the population not to give any credence to the video images currently circulating on social networks”, wrote the government spokesman and Minister for Communication, Jean Emmanuel Ouédraogo, in a press release.

These videos “attempt to make people believe that massacres of civilians have been perpetrated by Burkina Faso’s fighting forces”, he added, denouncing a “communication campaign fuelled by the terrorists”, concerning “massacres that they themselves have perpetrated”.

“These are treacherous fabrications designed to discredit the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) and the Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland (VDP, civilian auxiliaries to the army), who put up heroic resistance to the onslaught of terrorists who failed miserably to take control of the Djibo camp on 26 November”, he said.

On that day, jihadists carried out a massive attack against an army detachment in Djibo, killing several soldiers, according to security sources. No official figures were released, but the state media claimed that the army’s response had “neutralised more than 400 terrorists”.

At least 40 civilians were also killed and 42 wounded, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. On Monday, the government spokesman also assured that “Burkina Faso’s fighting forces are acting with professionalism and respect for human rights”.

Djibo, close to the so-called three-border zone between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali where jihadist groups are active, has been under siege for months. Several convoys seeking to supply the area have been attacked.

Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been caught up in a spiral of violence perpetrated by jihadist groups affiliated to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, which has left a total of more than 17,000 civilians and soldiers dead.

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