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AT LEAST 30 people have been killed in a suspected jihadist attack on a village in the east of Burkina Faso on Monday, security officials have confirmed.
The massacre in Kodyel village, Komandjari province, near the border with Niger, was reportedly carried out by a large group of gunmen in the early hours of Monday morning.
“It happened early [in the] morning when some people were still in their homes,” an anonymous official from a local self-defence militia said.
“Dozens of men burst into the village and set houses on fire, while others stood watch and shot at people indiscriminately.”
Another member of the defence militia estimated “about 30 dead, men and women,” adding that “the toll remains provisional, because everyone fled the village.”
If the number is accurate, it would make the attack one of the deadliest ever in Burkina Faso.
Twenty villagers were also believed to have been injured.
The village was reportedly targeted because large numbers had joined the militia to defend the area from Islamist attacks.
The latest attack came only days after the killing of two Spanish journalists and an Irish national after they were abducted by gunmen near an eastern Burkina Faso nature reserve.
The east of Burkina Faso, along with neighbouring Mali and Niger, has become a centre for jihadist activity, with frequent attacks from groups affiliated to Isis and al-Qaida.
Some three million people are believed to have been displaced in the arid Sahel region since an Islamist insurgency began in 2012, with jihadists still holding ground in northern Mali.
France and the United Nations have deployed thousands of troops to the region but are struggling to restore security as the Islamist groups exploit tribal and ethnic tensions.
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