Soldiers in Burkina Faso recover 79 bodies so far after weekend attack


Soldiers in Burkina Faso have recovered 79 bodies so far after an attack in the northern Seno province over the weekend, the government said on Tuesday, as new details of the assault emerged.

At least 100 people were killed, and possibly as many as 165, in the attack, security and local sources have told Reuters. It was the deadliest attack in at least a year in the West African country, which is battling an insurgency by groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State. read more

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Unidentified assailants first attacked a military police post in Seytenga, a department of Seno province, on Thursday evening, killing 11 gendarmes, the army said on Friday. It said that gendarmes fought back but were outnumbered. read more

Three security sources told Reuters on Tuesday that the military police then withdrew to the regional capital, Dori, to regroup, leaving no one at the security post when armed men returned two days later and slaughtered dozens of civilians.

Burkina Faso’s army spokesman referred questions to the minister of security, who could not immediately be reached for comment.

The government said that the search for bodies was continuing house by house. The search was slow because soldiers suspect the attackers left improvised explosive devices behind, it said.

More than 3,000 people, mostly children, who fled the attack had arrived in Dori by Monday, the government said.

A project coordinator for medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Dori said on Tuesday that the number had risen to more than 6,800 people and that some were being treated for gunshot wounds.

The government has declared a three-day period of national mourning.

Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga and Anne Mimault in Ouagadougou and David Lewis in Nairobi; Additional reporting and writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Susan Fenton