Burkina Faso: Many women killed in jihadist attack

SUSPECTED Islamist militants have killed 35 civilians, 31 of them women, in an attack on a military base and a town in Burkina Faso, officials say.

They say seven soldiers and 80 militants were also killed as the army repelled Tuesday’s attack in Arbinda, northern Soum province.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore declared two days of national mourning in the landlocked West African country.

No group has so far said it was behind the attack.

The attack of “rare intensity” lasted several hours, Burkina Faso’s military said.

“In their flight, the terrorists cowardly murdered 35 civilians, including 31 women, and injured six people,” government spokesman Remis Dandjinou was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed after gunmen opened fire inside a church in the east of the country. Jihadist attacks have increased in Burkina Faso since 2015.

Once relatively stable, Burkina Faso has descended into serious unrest, due to a home-grown insurgency and the spillover from jihadist militancy in Mali. Hundreds of people have been killed this year and a million displaced.

The conflict spread across the border from neighbouring Mali where Islamist militants took over the north of the country in 2012 before French troops pushed them out.