Dozens killed in Burkina Faso attack near Mali border

Latest violence comes as country’s military leaders step up efforts to put down an uprising that has killed thousands.

Burkina Faso soldiers standing at ease.
Burkina Faso's military rulers have announced a 'general mobilisation' to try and quell the violence [File: Issouf Sanogo/AFP]

About 60 civilians have been killed in a village in northern Burkina Faso, according to the local prosecutor who announced an investigation into the attack.

Citing information from police in the town of Ouahigouya, prosecutor Lamine Kabore said the attack took place on Friday in the village of Karma near the border with Mali.

The statement said the perpetrators were wearing the uniforms of the Burkinabe armed forces, but gave no further details on the attack.

“The wounded have been evacuated and are currently being taken care of within our health facilities,” Kabore told the AFP news agency, adding that the perpetrators had “taken various goods”.

Armed groups are thought to control about 40 percent of Burkina Faso in regional unrest that began in Mali in 2012 when hardline groups hijacked a Tuareg separatist uprising. Burkina Faso’s military rulers this month announced a “general mobilisation” as part of a plan to regain territory lost to armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS).

In Karma, survivors told AFP more than 100 people on motorbikes and pick-up trucks had raided the village, and that dozens of men and young people were killed by men dressed in military uniforms.

They put the death toll at “around 80”.

Last week, 34 defence volunteers and six soldiers were killed in an attack by an “unidentified” group near Aorema village, about 40km from Karma.

Burkina Faso’s military rulers had declared their “general mobilisation” to give the state “all necessary means” to combat the armed uprising only days before.

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”.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, according to aid groups, with some two million forced from their homes.

Anger within the military at the mounting toll led to two coups in 2022, the most recent of which was in September, when Captain Ibrahim Traore emerged as president.

Traore says he is committed to a plan by the preceding military administration to hold elections for a civilian government by 2024.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies