Burkina Faso: Another African nation plagued by Islamist terrorism

Atrocities by Islamist armed groups in Burkina Faso’s northern Sahel Region has left scores dead and created widespread fear and displacement.

The violence has forced tens of thousands of villagers to flee since early 2019 as the country's security forces struggle to contain the violence.

Beginning in 2016, armed Islamist groups linked to both Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) have attacked army bases, police, and gendarme posts, and purely civilian targets in Burkina Faso.

While the violence and insecurity have spread throughout the country, the epicentre remains the northern Sahel region, which borders Mali and Niger.

Witnesses described the alleged killing by armed Islamists of 42 civilians, apparently because of their actual or suspected ties to the government, or for supporting the formation of a self-defense group.

Most of the victims were from the ethnic Foulse or Bella communities.

Witnesses said the Islamists had abducted and intimidated local leaders, pillaged livestock, and commandeered ambulances.

They also said the Islamists had forbade villagers from celebrating marriages and baptisms and, at times, women from socialising or selling in markets. 

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