Tuesday, September 6, 2022

The war with Islamists

Burkina Faso: Dozens dead after bus hits IED

The explosion hit a convoy carrying supplies in the north of the country, an area where Islamist militants have escalated attacks in recent years.

Aerial view of Djibo town, the epicenter of Burkina Faso's conflict.

Djibo town is the epicenter of Burkina Faso's conflict. Islamist militants have escalated attacks on villages, police and military outposts.

At least 35 civilians were killed and 37 were injured in Burkina Faso on Monday after the vehicle they were traveling in struck an improvised explosive device.

The attack occured in an area where Islamist militants have escalated attacks on villages, police and military outposts since 2015.

What we know about the attack

The escorted supply convoy was heading to the capital, Ouagadougou. "The victims are mainly traders who were going to buy supplies in Ouagadougou and students who were returning to the capital for the next school year," the resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFP.

The convoy hit the explosive device between the northern towns of Djibo and Bourzanga, the interim government said in a statement.

"Escorts rapidly secured the perimeter and took measures to assist the victims," governor Rodolphe Sorgho said.  

Jihadist groups have recently carried out similar attacks on arterial roads leading to the northern capitals of Dori and Djibo. In early August, 15 soldiers died in a double explosion in the same area.

Map of Burkina Faso with Ouagadougou, Djibo, Silgadji

What is the internal conflict in Burkina Faso?

The seven-year insurgency has killed more than 2,000 people and forced some 1.9 million to flee.

Fighting is concentrated in the north and east, led by jihadists suspected of having links to al-Qaida or the Islamic State group.

According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, nearly one in 10 people in Burkina Faso has been displaced by conflict and severe food insecurity has almost doubled compared to 2021.

Since last year, Burkina Faso has become the epicenter of violence, with more deadly attacks than in neighboring Mali or Niger in 2021, according to NGO Acled.

More than 40% of the country is outside the control of the military government, which took power in January. It has made countering the insurgency its top priority.

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