11 police killed in Burkina Faso ambush: minister


23rd June, 2021 10:25:07 AM printer

11 police killed in Burkina Faso ambush: minister

11 policemen have been killed in an ambush by suspected jihadists in northern Burkina Faso, and four more officers are missing, the government said Tuesday.

"Around 3 pm on Monday, a relief team belonging to the national police was targeted in an ambush by armed individuals," Security Minister Ousseni Compaore said in a statement.

Following the attack in the country's Centre-Nord region, 11 police were recorded dead, seven found unhurt and four missing, he added.

Security sources had earlier told AFP that the attack took place at Yirgou, a small village north of the town of Barsalogho.

"A search operation is underway to track down the attackers, with military support, and to find the officers who are still missing," a senior security official said.

Burkina Faso has been grappling with a jihadist insurgency that has left at least 1,400 dead since 2015 and forced an estimated one million people to flee their homes.

Yirgou was the scene of a massacre of 48 Muslim Fulani people in 2019, according to the government, reprisal killings after a jihadist attack.

Monday's ambush follows a rise in attacks in the north since April, when four Burkinabe soldiers were killed while on patrol near Yirgou.

In recent years, the impoverished Sahel country has been hit by increasingly brutal attacks by militants affiliated with the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda.

In early June, the village of Solhan in the north was hit by the deadliest jihadist attack since the start of the insurgency, which claimed at least 132 lives. Local sources have put the death toll at 160.