Burkina: NGOs denounce “extrajudicial executions” of the army

The releases were released on Sunday. Two human rights organizations denounce there “summary and extrajudicial executions” of “more than 40 people” perpetrated in early August in Tougouri, in the north of Burkina Faso, and involving, according to them, the Burkinabe armed forces. The government “refuted” these “allegations” while indicating that the army had initiated “an investigation to verify the veracity and accuracy of these allegations”.

“The collective against the impunity and stigmatization of communities (CISC) has been seized since Monday August 8 by several witnesses and relatives of victims of the commune of Tougouri, more precisely in the village of Taffogo in the Center-North region. , of several cases of kidnappings followed by summary and extrajudicial executions”, indicates this human rights organization in a press release.

“Barbaric acts unworthy of our time”

“In total, more than 40 bodies were found later along the Taffogo – Bouroum road”, according to the CISC, specifying that “these people killed had all their hands tied and blindfolded”. According to the organization, concordant testimonies describe “the presumed perpetrators of these abductions followed by systematic executions as being elements of the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) dressed in black uniforms and hooded”.

Estimating, for its part, at “more than fifty unarmed civilians” who “were kidnapped in Tougouri and summarily executed on the road to Bouroum by the FDS”, the Observatory of Human Dignity (ODH) ” condemned with the utmost energy these barbaric acts unworthy of our times”.

Fulani people targeted

According to the ODH, citing local sources, “almost all of the victims are Fulani, including women and children. Some victims were arrested at the Tougouri market and others at home”. “The authorities are strongly challenged on the resurgence of these iniquitous, barbaric practices, unworthy of a republican army and which have contributed to plunging Burkina Faso into this situation” of security crisis, indicated this organization.

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The collective invited “certain elements of the FDS to stop the practice of kidnapping civilians with their bare hands followed by summary and extrajudicial executions under the fallacious pretext of the fight against terrorism”. He called on the Head of State to “reframe the action of these soldiers who sum up the fight against terrorism to a simple extermination of villages occupied by a specific community”.

An ongoing investigation

“The government refutes and condemns, with the utmost energy, these allegations which bring discredit to the army, which remains republican and resolutely committed to the fight against terrorism and to guaranteeing the peace and security of the populations”, declared its door. -word, Lionel Bilgo.

“The army has already initiated an investigation to verify the veracity and accuracy of these allegations. If however they are founded, the army (…) will draw all the consequences”, assured Lionel Bilgo, also Minister of National Education. In a press release published at the end of June, the army had “called some of its elements to order, including volunteers for the defense of the homeland (civilian auxiliaries) to respect the principles of the army”, underlined Lionel Bilgo .

Other charges in the past

Regularly accused of extrajudicial executions, the Burkinabè army has always denied this, sometimes pointing to armed groups that use military equipment. Other NGOs including Human Rights Watch (HRW) had already accused the Burkinabè security forces in 2020 of “extrajudicial executions”, during anti-terrorist operations, after the discovery of “mass graves containing at least 180 bodies” in Djibo , capital of the province of Soum, one of the most affected by jihadist attacks.

This violence has killed several thousand people in the country since 2015, and forced nearly two million people to flee their homes.

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