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OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Attacks by jihadis killed at least 22 people in northwestern Burkina Faso and also injured others, the government said Monday.

The “cowardly and barbaric” attack occurred late Sunday in the commune of Bourasso in Kossi province, Babo Pierre Pierre Bassinga, governor of Boucle du Mouhoun region, said in a statement.

The West African nation has been overrun by jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamist State group in recent years. Violence has killed thousands and displaced nearly 2 million people from their homes.

Mutinous soldiers ousted Burkina Faso’s democratically elected president in January promising to secure the country, but since then violence has increased and spread.

More than 530 violent incidents occurred between February and May, which was more than double the level during the same period of 2021, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

At least 135 people were killed in 12 jihadi attacks during the first two weeks of June, according to an internal security report for aid workers seen by The Associated Press.

In an attempt to stem the violence, last month the junta announced the creation of two military zones in the hard-hit East and Sahel regions, forcing civilians to leave their homes within two weeks and prompting concerns it would worsen the crisis of displaced people.

Analysts say the Boucle du Mouhoun region where the attacks took place Sunday has become a hub for militants as violence once focused on the east and north regions has expanded west.

“The latest attack in northwestern Burkina Faso is another link to the chain of uncontainable terror that’s plagued the Sahel for the past two years,” said Laith Alkhouri, CEO of Intelonyx Intelligence Advisory, which provides intelligence analysis. “It should urge the de facto government to act and seek international security support to stem the violence,” he said.

Mednick reported from Madrid, Spain.



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