Thirty-five civilians, almost all of them women, were killed in a jihadist attack in the West African country of Burkina Faso on Wednesday, AFP reported. This is one of the deadliest attacks in the country that is facing an Islamist insurgency. President Roch Marc Christian Kabore declared two days of national mourning, and praised the “bravery and commitment” of the security forces.
Seven soldiers and 80 Islamist attackers were also killed in the double attack on a military base and Arbinda town in the northern Soum province, said the army. The dozens of attackers came on motorbikes, and lasted several hours before the Army, backed by the air force, pushed them back.
Though no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, religious violence in Burkina Faso has been increasing since 2015. The land-locked country is facing a home-grown insurgency and jihadist militants from neighbouring Mali. Most of these fighters are linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. According to the UN, more than 700 people have been killed and about 5.6 lakh internally displaced.
Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed by gunmen in a church in the eastern part of the country. In November, a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company was ambushed. The attack left 37 people dead, according to Al Jazeera.