Thirty bodies discovered in northwest Burkina Faso

Most of the victims are male and were shot dead. Twenty-eight bodies were discovered on New Year’s Eve in Nouna, in northwestern Burkina Faso, the government announced on Monday evening, a civil society organization denouncing “exactions” committed by army auxiliaries. .

“The government has been informed of a tragedy that occurred in Nouna, capital of Kossi province, on the night of December 30 to 31,” said a statement from government spokesman Jean Emmanuel Ouédraogo. The first information “reports 28 people killed”. the Collective against impunity and the stigmatization of communities (CISC) denounced “exactions” committed by Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland (VDP, army auxiliaries).

Context of jihadist attacks

The government press release adds that an investigation “was immediately opened (…) to elucidate the circumstances of the tragedy and locate all the responsibilities”. “Pending the outcome of the investigation”, he “calls on the entire population to calm”, affirming “that all measures have been taken to shed light on this unacceptable violence”. “This tragedy occurs at a time when Burkina Faso has initiated an operation to mobilize all the people for unity of action in the fight against terrorism”, notes the spokesperson.

Burkina Faso has been confronted since 2015 with increasing attacks by jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. They have left thousands dead and at least two million displaced and are partly behind two military coups in 2022. The government claims to remain “fundamentally opposed to all forms of abuse or violation of human rights humans for any reason whatsoever.

Looting and stigmatization

Before the publication of these official press releases, the CISC, a human rights organization, had just denounced “targeted abuses against civilian populations”. “Armed civilians claiming to be” VDPs engage “freely in organized looting and targeted abuses against civilian populations on a background of racial profiling and stigmatization”.

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On Saturday, “following a terrorist attack allegedly suffered by the VDP headquarters in Nouna (…) armed dozos (traditional hunters), identified by the victims as being VDPs, carried out murderous actions by way of reprisals “.

“The toll stands at 21 people killed, including children, but it continues to increase as information reaches us from the field,” said CISC Secretary General Daouda Diallo.

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