UN Secretary-General António Guterres has strongly condemned an armed attack on a convoy near the town of Arbinda, in the north of Burkina Faso, on Wednesday, which has reportedly led to the death of some 80 people.
According to media reports, the civilian convoy was being escorted by military police, when it was attacked by Islamist militants.
As well as the scores of people killed, several others were wounded.
Government and military sources reportedly declared that 59 civilians, six pro-Government militiamen and 15 military police were slaughtered while security forces said that 80 militants were also murdered.
Bring perpetrators to justice
Via a statement released on Thursday by the Secretary-General’s Associate Spokesperson, Eri Kaneko, Mr. Guterres expressed his deep concern at the violence orchestrated by extremist groups in the Liptako-Gourma area, and his calls for the Burkinabé authorities to “spare no effort in identifying and swiftly bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
The statement added that Mr. Guterres conveys his condolences to the bereaved families and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.
He also reiterated the solidarity of the United Nations with the Government and people of Burkina Faso and the Sahelian countries “in their efforts to counter and prevent terrorism and violent extremism, promote social cohesion and achieve sustainable development”.
The assault took place at a time of rising Islamist attacks in Burkina Faso, which has forced record-breaking numbers of people from their homes.
In July the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported that around 11,000 Burkinabé asylum seekers were in neighbouring Niger, up from 7,400 at the start of the year.
However, instability stretches beyond the country’s borders: the top UN counter-terrorism official, Vladimir Voronkov, warned on Thursday that the so-called “Islamic State in the Greater Sahara” has spread relentlessly across the African continent, killing several hundred civilians since the start of 2021 in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.