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12 soldiers killed in attack in northwest 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)
Soldiers from Burkina Faso patrol in a village of Gorgadji in Sahel area, Burkina Faso, on March 3, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

At least 12 soldiers have been killed and eight others wounded in an attack in northwestern Burkina Faso, the government said.

Communications Minister Ousseni Tamboura announced in a statement on Monday that the “members of the ground forces and the rapid intervention force GARSI were ambushed" in the northwest Boucle du Mouhoun region on Sunday, confirming that "12 soldiers have fallen and eight are wounded."

Seven people are reported to be missing.

Reacting to the attack, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said in a tweet, "We continue to wage without concession the war the obscurantist and barbaric forces have imposed on our country."

A security source told AFP that the attack was revenge for the death of two militant leaders "who were neutralized (Saturday) by the armed forces."

A government statement said Sunday that the militants were killed by a special army unit following exchanges of fire in Kossi province.

On Saturday, a special army unit killed two prominent rebels in the same region, according to the Communications Ministry.

Burkina Faso 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. According to the United Nations’ data, terror 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.

According to the UN, violence in the West African country has also driven more than 1.2 million people from their homes since 2019.

According to Babar Baloch, the spokesman of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 150,000 people -- 84 percent of them women and children -- have become internally displaced in the country this year.


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