After a new attack in Burkina Faso on Thursday killed 41 civilians and army auxiliaries in an ambush in the north of the country, a two-day national mourning was declared on Sunday, December 26.
« The search mission on the ambush zone (…) established a balance sheet of 41 bodies « , said government spokesman Alkassoum Maïga in a statement. « The president of [Burkina] Faso decrees national mourning of forty-eight hours « , which started Sunday at midnight, adds the text.
Among the victims is Ladji Yoro, considered a leader of the “Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland” (VDP) in Burkina Faso, the statement said. In its fight against jihadist groups, the Burkinabe army, weak and poorly equipped, relies on these VDPs, civilian auxiliaries trained in two weeks and who are paying a heavy price for this fight.
Identification of the 41 victims in progress
Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré had already paid tribute to Ladji Yoro on Friday. « This intrepid Volunteer for the Defense of the Fatherland must be the model of our determined commitment to fight the enemy », had tweeted the head of state. The Ministry of the Armed Forces, for its part, welcomed « The heroism of Ladji Yoro » Who « Fought to the supreme sacrifice ».
However, no results of this ambush had been announced by the executive. « The identification of the victims is still in progress », explains the government press release which « Firmly condemns this barbarity ».
According to several Burkinabé media, this ambush attributed to jihadists targeted Thursday a convoy of traders escorted by VDPs. This attack is the deadliest since that of Inata (north), in mid-November, where 57 people, including 53 gendarmes, were killed, causing the exasperation of the population.
2,000 dead and 1.4 million displaced since 2015
Two weeks before this attack, the gendarmes of Inata had alerted the staff to their precarious situation, saying that they lacked food and had to eat thanks to poaching. Hundreds of Burkinabés took to the streets of Ouagadougou on November 27 to demand the departure of the executive, accused of being unable to stop jihadist violence.
Like its Malian and Nigerien neighbors, Burkina Faso has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of violence attributed to jihadist armed groups affiliated with Al-Qaida and the Islamic State group which have left at least 2,000 dead and 1.4 million displaced. . The so-called “three borders” area, on the borders of Mali and Niger, is particularly affected.
In early December, the government was sacked and a new prime minister, former UN official Lassina Zerbo, was appointed. Many ministers, including in key positions such as defense, security or the economy, had however retained their portfolios. The president then called « Gathering » to defeat the « Terrorism ».