About 60 civilians were killed in a village in northern Burkina Faso by men wearing military uniforms, a local prosecutor has said, announcing an investigation into the latest bloodshed.
Attacks blamed on suspected jihadists are on the rise in the west African country, which is battling an insurgency that spilled over from neighbouring Mali.
“About 60 people were killed by people wearing the uniforms of our national armed forces” on Thursday in the village of Karma in northern Yatenga province, the Ouahigouya high court prosecutor, Lamine Kabore, said late on Sunday, citing the police.
“The wounded have been evacuated and are currently being taken care of within our health facilities,” he said in a statement, adding that the perpetrators had “taken various goods”.
The village of Karma is near the Malian border and attracts many illegal goldminers.
According to residents contacted by AFP, survivors said more than 100 people on motorbikes and pickup trucks raided the village.
Dozens of people were killed by the men, who were dressed in military uniforms, they said.
The latest bloodshed occurred a week after 34 defence volunteers and six soldiers were killed in an attack by suspected jihadists near the village of Aorema, about 15km from the provincial capital, Ouahigouya, and 40km from Karma.
Following that attack, Burkina Faso’s military junta declared a “general mobilisation” to give the state “all necessary means” to combat a string of bloody attacks blamed on jihadists affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.
The decree states that anyone aged over 18 and physically fit who is not in the armed forces will be “called to enlist according to the needs expressed by the competent authorities”.
The government had already announced a plan to recruit 5,000 more soldiers to battle the insurgency that has gripped Burkina Faso since 2015. The country, landlocked and in the heart of West Africa’s Sahel, is one of the world’s most volatile and impoverished.
Ibrahim Traore, Burkina’s transitional president, has declared a goal of recapturing the 40% of the country’s territory which is controlled by jihadists.
The violence has left more than 10,000 people dead, according to non-governmental aid groups, and displaced 2 million people from their homes.
Anger within the military at the mounting toll sparked two coups in 2022, the most recent of which was in September, when Traore seized power. He is standing by a pledge made by the preceding junta to stage elections for a civilian government by 2024.