On February 16th, a group of gunmen killed 24 and wounded 18 in an attack on a Protestant church in a village in northern Burkina Faso.
A group of “armed terrorists” burst into the village of Pansi, in Yagha province “and attacked the peaceful local population after having identified them and separated them from non-residents”, Colonel Salfo Kabore said in a statement, sent to AFP.
The attack happened during the weekly Sunday service.
“The provisional toll is 24 killed, including the pastor… 18 wounded and individuals who were kidnapped,” Kabore said.
A resident of the nearby town of Sebba said Pansi villagers had fled there for safety.
Burkina Faso is in the Sahel, which for years has been struggling with increasingly violent terror attacks.
On February 10th, suspected jihadists in Sebba seized seven people at the home of a pastor. Five bodies were found three days later, including the pastor, according to the local governor.
According to UN figures, jihadist attacks in Burkina and neighbouring Mali and Niger left nearly 4,000 people dead in 2019.
Since 2015, around 750 people have been killed in Burkina and around 600,000 people have fled their homes.
The situation in Burkina Faso in particular, and the Sahel in general is dire.
The number of people forced to flee their homes in Burkina Faso rose 10-fold in 2019. That’s more than half a million people displaced inside the country.
— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) February 5, 2020
And the UN, the EU are generally just making statements and undertaking no actions.
France has an anti-terrorism operation, which is so unsuccessful that people in the Sahel G5 are organizing protests against their troops. Since France has been carrying out its operation, the terror attacks on civilian have only increased.
The situation, now, promises to get even worse, as a US government report suggests that US African Command (AFRICOM) doesn’t posses the necessary manpower to effectively fight the terrorist groups in the Sahel, and will rather focus on “containment.”
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters in January that American troops were not withdrawing from AFRICOM entirely, but he suggested the US might pull back on the counterterror mission in Africa to address competition from China and Russia elsewhere in the world.
About 6,000 US military personnel are deployed across the continent, the inspector general report adds, including 500 special operations forces in Somalia and about 800 personnel in West Africa.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Africa’s Sahel Region: Hotbed Of Chaos And Terrorism
- French Operation Barkhane In Africa’s Sahel Region (Map Update)
- 71 Soldiers Killed In ISIS Attack On Military Camp In Niger (Photos)