A military base in eastern Burkina Faso was attacked, resulting in the death of 33 soldiers and 12 others being wounded. The attack was aimed at the military detachment in Ougarou, located in the Est region. The army released a statement claiming that the besieged soldiers killed at least 40 “terrorists” before reinforcements arrived. Burkina Faso’s armed forces have been fighting rebels since 2015, and the ongoing violence has led to over 10,000 deaths of both civilians and members of the security forces. At least two million people have fled their homes, and one-third of the country is outside of government control.
The military’s inability to control the violence has sparked anger within its ranks, leading to two coups last year that resulted in the current leader, Captain Ibrahim Traore, taking control in September. Traore has promised to reconquer lost ground, but attacks on security forces and civilians have increased since the start of the year, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Traore has stated that he is committed to holding elections for a civilian government by 2024, as outlined by the previous military administration’s plan.
The latest violence occurred as the armed forces were accused of indiscriminately killing civilians during anti-insurgency missions. The government expressed “particular concern over reports of killings, in circumstances that remain to be clarified” and condemned “these unspeakable and barbaric acts” in the village of Karma in the northern part of the country. Survivors and Karma residents have issued a statement claiming that more than 100 people died, describing a massacre by uniformed men that lasted hours. Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, has said “at least 150 civilians” may have been killed in the attack.
The ongoing violence in Burkina Faso has resulted in a humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced and thousands dead. The government and military have been unable to control the situation, leading to anger and frustration among the population. The international community has called for action to be taken to address the crisis, including providing aid to those affected and supporting efforts to restore stability and security in the country.