Heavily-armed jihadists killed six members of a civilian militia pursuing them after an attack in Burkina Faso’s east, a local mayor said Saturday.
Burkina Faso has been badly hit by jihadists who started making incursions from neighbouring Mali in 2015. More than 1,100 people have lost their lives and over a million have fled their homes.
On Friday, dozens of heavily armed jihadists raided the hamlet of Touldeni, located near Fada N’Gourma — a major market town and regional centre about 220 kilometres (140 miles) east of the capital Ouagadougou.
“After this attack, several units of the Volunteers for the Defence of the Nation (VDP, a civilian militia group) engaged in cleaning up operations,” the mayor of Fada N’Gourma, Jean-Claude Louari, said.
“Unfortunately one of these teams was ambushed leading to the deaths of six of its members. One of them is missing and two are wounded,” he said.
No-one was killed in the Touldeni raid, he said.
The VDP, formed in November, comprises civilian volunteers who help the army in their uphill battle against the various jihadist groups operating in the country.
They receive 14 days’ training and are then sent out on patrols and surveillance missions, equipped with light arms.
More than a 100 such volunteers have died since January.
Burkina Faso’s military claimed to have “neutralised” — a euphemism for having killed — at least 26 “terrorists” between September 11 and 13 in two operations in the country’s north.