Armed Assailants Kill About 50 People

Burkina Faso's security forces have struggled to contain Islamist groups who have overrun swathes of the country in recent years.

Armed assailants have killed about 50 people in a part of eastern Burkina Faso ravaged by Islamist violence, the region’s governor said on Thursday.

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It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack on Wednesday against residents of the rural commune of Madjoari, said Colonel Hubert Yameogo, the governor of the East Region.

The victims were traveling to a town in the nearby commune of Pama, close to the borders with Benin and Togo, Yameogo said in a statement.

Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and ISIS have overrun swathes of Burkina Faso in recent years, part of a wider insurgency across West Africa’s semi-arid Sahel region.

The violence has expanded and intensified in the past decade, killing thousands of civilians each year.

The conflict is now spilling over into coastal West African countries like Benin and Togo. Eight soldiers were killed and 13 wounded in northern Togo this month in what was likely the first deadly raid in Togo by Islamist militants.

Wednesday’s attack in Burkina Faso followed two others this month in Madjoari. One killed 17 civilians and another killed 11 soldiers.

Army officers angry about worsening militant attacks overthrew Burkina Faso’s president in January and vowed to improve security, but levels of violence have remained high.

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