Twelve Burkina Faso soldiers have been killed in an attack by dozens of unidentified assailants on a military post in Nassoumbou commune of the northwestern province of Soum. The province’s high commissioner, Mohamed Dah, claimed extremist militants were behind the Friday attack. The army said the attack was carried out at about 5:00 a.m. local time on the military post, located about 30 kilometers from Mali’s border.
“About 40 heavily armed individuals who have not yet been identified” carried out the attack, the army said in a statement. Reports said those killed in the attack were mostly army soldiers but gendarme soldiers were also among them. It was not stated whether any assailants were killed or injured in the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assault. The attackers had also set fire to tents and military vehicles, according to reports. Militant attacks are seldom launched in the West African country. However, Burkina Faso’s neighboring country, Mali, harbors many active militants. Authorities are concerned that the extended desert borders between the two countries could become a transit point for militants to cross over into Burkina Faso and carry out terrorist attacks there.
A newly-formed militant group led by a combatant formerly loyal to Algeria’s Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed to have attacked a Burkinabe military post in September, and unidentified gunmen killed three Burkinabe soldiers and two civilians in October. In January, Takfiri terrorists linked to al-Qaeda staged a hostage-taking attack on a hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, which left 29 people dead. The attackers stormed a hotel where UN staff and Westerners regularly stayed.