At Least 20 People Killed After Gunmen Attack Cattle Market in Burkina Faso

Troops ride in a vehicle near the French Embassy in central Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Friday March 2, 2018. (AP)

As many as 20 people were killed when unidentified gunmen attacked a cattle market in Eastern Burkina Faso on Friday, as violent extremist attacks continue to increase across the Sahel region of Africa.

Officials in Burkina Faso have not yet blamed any group for the attack.

“Unidentified armed individuals burst into a cattle market in Namoungou village in the region of Fada N’Gourma and attacked the population,” Col. Saidou Sanou, the governor of the eastern region, said in a statement, according to Agence France Press. “According to an initial toll, around 20 people have been killed and numerous others wounded.”

Although Burkina Faso was once thought of as a relatively peaceful nation in West Africa, Friday’s attack comes as United Nations data indicates that some 1,800 were killed in terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso in 2019, up from 80 in 2016.

The increase in extremist violence in the country has led to the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.

Violence elsewhere in the Sahel continued in Niger on Sunday when gunmen opened fire in the Giraffe Zone in the southwestern part of the country, killing six French aid workers, a Nigerian driver and a guide.

Among those killed was Kadri Abdou, president of the Association of Giraffe Guides of Koure.

“We are deeply saddened and thinking of the victims and their families to whom we offer our most sincere condolences and especially to the family of Kadri, our friend. May he rest in peace,” the association said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian vowed on Monday to make those responsible “answer for their acts.”

According to the AP, the French government warned its citizens about traveling outside of Niger’s capital city due to the presence of militants aligned with Islamic extremists groups such as Boko Haram, the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith