More than 40 civilians have been reportedly killed during intercommunal clashes this week in northern Burkina Faso, prompting UN Secretary-General António Guterres to issue a statement on Friday night condemning the violence and “deteriorating security situation” in parts of the West African country.
The first deadly attack on Monday night took place in the village of Yirgou, according to news reports, by suspected extremists, with reprisal attacks taking place the following day, against local ethnic Fulani Muslim herding communities in the Barsalogo district.
The UN chief expressed his deep condolences to the families of the victims and wished a swift recovery to those who were injured in the clashes.
According to news agencies, landlocked Burkino Faso has seen a rise in jihadist violence over recent months, which has long plagued neighbouring Mali to the north, and is a major security threat across the whole Sahel region. On Monday, the Burkinabe Government declared a state of emergency in some northern provinces close to the Mali border.
“The Secretary-General is concerned over the deteriorating security situation in some parts of the country, where the authorities declared a state of emergency. He is also concerned about the intercommunal violence,” said Friday’s statement issued on behalf of the UN chief.
“The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to support Burkina Faso in its efforts to fight terrorism, sustain its security sector reforms, promote national reconciliation and create conditions for sustainable peace and development” the statement concluded.