Burkina Faso attack leaves 11 dead, 50 missing
An attack by ISIS and Al-Qaeda affiliates targeted 150 vehicles convoy transporting aides across Burkina Faso, leaving 11 soldiers dead and 50 civilians missing.
The Burkina Faso government reports that armed fighters ambushed a convoy of 150 vehicles carrying supplies to a northern town, killing at least 11 troops. The attack which occurred on Monday in the commune of Gaskinde in the province of Soum also left 50 civilians missing.
The government of Burkina Faso said in a statement on Tuesday that armed groups linked to Al-Qaeda and ISIS have intensified their attacks since 2015 as they seized more territory.
The attack wounded 28 civilians and 20 soldiers while it also destroyed dozens of trucks.
Since Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba took over Burkina Faso in a coup in January of this year and vowed to control the country's armed groups, violence has erupted throughout the West African nation.
Al-Qaeda and ISIS-affiliated armed fighters have fueled the turmoil across the nation even after Damiba replaced his defense minister earlier this month.
Armed factions have blockaded many villages in the northern Soum province, so government convoys and airdrops have brought crucial supplies to stranded people.
Government spokesperson Lionel Bilgo called the attack "cowardly and barbaric." Bilgo explained that “The provisional toll is that 11 bodies of soldiers have been found,” adding that “About 50 civilians are missing and searches are ongoing.”
According to AFP, citing a security source, the death toll could increase to 60 dead as “Practically the entire convoy was burnt.”
On January 31, Burkina was also suspended by the African Union "until the effective restoration of constitutional order."
The UN Security Council on February 9 expressed "serious concern" over the country's "unconstitutional change of government," but chose not to describe it as a military coup or even condemn it outright.
Burkina Faso is one of the world's poorest countries and one of the most volatile in Africa.
The Sahel state has experienced repeated coups since gaining independence from France in 1960.
Since the first terrorist attacks in 2015, more than 2,000 people have died, according to an AFP tally, while the country's emergencies agency says more than 1.5 million people have fled their homes.