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Armed assailants kill 100 civilians in Burkina Faso

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) of the French Army patrols a rural area in northern Burkina Faso. (AFP file photo)

Armed assailants have killed at least 100 civilians in a town in northern Burkina Faso; the deadliest attack in six years.

Security and local sources said "armed individuals staged an incursion" into the northern town of Solhan, during the night of Friday into Saturday.

"The toll, which is still provisional, is about 100 dead, men and woman of different ages."

The assailants, whom the government described as terrorists, struck after midnight against a position of the Volunteers for the Defense of the Motherland (VDP) — a civilian defense force which backs the national army — before attacking homes and carrying out "executions," a local source said.

“In addition to the heavy human toll, the worst recorded to date, homes and the market were set on fire," another security source said, voicing concern that the "still temporary toll of a hundred dead may increase."

The government declared a 72-hour period of national mourning. And President Roch Marc Christian Kabore called the attack “barbaric.”

No group has claimed responsibility for the carnage.

Security sources said Saturday’s incursion was the deadliest in Burkina Faso since 2015.

The violence came hours after another attack Friday evening on Tadaryat village in the same region, where at least 14 people were killed.

The country has been battling armed combatants with links to the al-Qaeda and Daesh Takfiri terrorist groups over the past few years.

Hundreds have been killed in the past year in the Sahel nation, and over half a million people have been displaced.

According to the United Nations’ data, Takfiri and inter-communal violence was to blame for 4,000 deaths last year in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

The attacks first started in the north near the Mali border, but have since spread to other regions, particularly the east.

Around 1,300 people have died and more than a million have fled from homes.

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