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18.03.2019 Africa

Bomb Attacks Kill Five Burkina Troops, Police

By AFP
Burkina Faso soldiers in August 2018 pay their respects to soldiers killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the eastern part of the country.  By STR (AFP/File)
MAR 18, 2019 AFRICA
Burkina Faso soldiers in August 2018 pay their respects to soldiers killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the eastern part of the country. By STR (AFP/File)

Five members of Burkina Faso's security forces were killed in roadside bomb attacks in the east of the country at the weekend, officials said on Monday.

A policeman and a soldier were killed on Saturday when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kompienga, a security official said.

Late Sunday, three soldiers were killed in the same area by the same technique, another official said.

The attacks bore the hallmarks of jihadist groups whose insurgency in the Sahel region spilled over into Burkina Faso four years ago.

In a separate development, a priest was kidnapped on Sunday near Djibo in the north of the country, a security official said.

The bishop of Dori, Laurent Dabire, identified the missing prelate as Father Joel Yougbare.

"(Yougbare) left to go to mass yesterday has still not returned home. The alert was sounded yesterday at around 8.30 pm but we are still have no news," Dabire said.

Last month, a Spanish priest and four customs officials were killed in a jihadist attack in eastern Burkina Faso, while in neighbouring Niger, an Italian missionary was abducted in September last year.

Since 2015, more than 300 people have been killed, typically in hit-and-run raids, and the capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times.

Attacks using IEDs began in August 2018 and have claimed more than 60 lives, according to a toll compiled by AFP.

The armed forces launched an anti-terror operation dubbed Otapuana ("Lightning"), in the centre and east of the country earlier this month.

It aims at "neutralising terrorists and destroying hiding places in forests in the region," according to the authorities.

Since January 1, a state of emergency has been in force in 14 of the country's 45 provinces.

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