Sixty civilians murdered by men in army uniform in northern Burkina Faso

By Michael Fitzpatrick - RFI
Burkina Faso  Issouf Sanogo, AFP
APR 24, 2023 LISTEN
© Issouf Sanogo, AFP

At least 60 civilians were killed in a village in northern Burkina Faso by men wearing military uniforms, the local prosecutor said late on Sunday, announcing an investigation into the latest bloodshed in the insurgency-hit country.

"About 60 people were killed by men wearing the uniforms of our national armed forces," last Thursday in the village of Karma, in northern Yatenga province, Ouahigouya High Court prosecutor Lamine Kabore told the AFP news agency.

"The wounded have been evacuated and are currently being taken care of within our health facilities," he said, adding that the perpetrators had "taken various goods".

The village of Karma is near the Malian border and attracts many illegal gold miners.

According to residents contacted by AFP, survivors said more than 100 attackers on motorbikes and in pick-up trucks raided the village.

Dozens of men and young people were killed by the men, dressed in military uniforms, they said.

Survivors gave a toll of "around 80 dead".

10,000 dead, two million homeless

Last week 34 defence volunteers and six soldiers were killed in an attack by suspected jihadists near the village of Aorema, about 15 kilometres from provincial capital Ouahigouya, 40 kilometres from Karma.

Following that attack, Burkina Faso's military junta declared a "general mobilisation" to give the state "all necessary means" to combat a string of bloody attacks blamed on jihadists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

The decree states that anyone over 18 years old and physically fit who is not in the armed forces will be "called to enlist according to the needs expressed by the competent authorities".

The government had already announced a plan to recruit 5,000 more soldiers to battle the insurgency that has gripped the country since 2015.

Captain Ibrahim Traoré, Burkina's transitional president, has declared a goal of recapturing the 40 percent of the country's territory which is controlled by jihadists.

The violence has killed more than 10,000 people, according to non-governmental aid groups, and displaced two million from their homes.