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August 28, 2018 | Burkina Faso

Blast kills 7 security personnel in Burkina Faso

AFP
Burkina Faso is on the front line of the jihadist revolt in the Sahel. In March, gunmen launched coordinated attacks on the French embassy, cultural centre and the Burkinabe military headquarters in Ouagadougou.  By Ahmed OUOBA (AFP/File)
Burkina Faso is on the front line of the jihadist revolt in the Sahel. In March, gunmen launched coordinated attacks on the French embassy, cultural centre and the Burkinabe military headquarters in Ouagadougou. By Ahmed OUOBA (AFP/File)

Seven members of the security forces were killed early Tuesday after their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in eastern Burkina Faso, security sources said.

The fatalities were gendarmes and troops who had been sent to the town of Pama as reinforcements after a police station there came under attack, they said.

One of the sources said the blast, caused by an improvised explosive device, killed eight people. The earlier attack in Pama lasted an hour and but caused no casualties, although the police station was set ablaze.

There were no immediate details about on the roadside blast, but it bore the hallmark of attacks attributed to jihadists that have shaken the country's east in recent months.

The Sahel state, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been battling Islamist violence since 2015, starting with cross-border incursions in the north.

The recent surge of attacks in the east is the result of pressure on jihadist insurgents in neighbouring Mali and Niger, experts say.

On August 11, four gendarmes and a civilian were killed when their vehicle struck a mine about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Fada N'Gourma, the main town in the Eastern Region administrative area.

A sixth person, also a gendarme, was killed later in a shootout with the assailants.

On June 17, a policeman was killed in the town of Comin-Yanga in a simultaneous attack on the local police and gendarmerie stations.

The security forces have carried out a wave of arrests, detaining hundreds of people in connection with the attacks.

Official figures released in April showed there had been 80 attacks in three years that had killed 133 people, many of them state officials. Hundreds of schools and town halls have been closed.

The capital Ouagadougou, in the centre of the country, has suffered three attacks in two years, leaving 60 dead.

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