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Burkina Faso: 70 dead in the Zaongo massacres (official provisional toll)

Thursday, 16 November 2023 04:46
Burkina Faso: 70 dead in the Zaongo massacres (official provisional toll)

(Ecofin Agency) - A year after the military takeover in Burkina Faso, violence shows no signs of abating despite the authorities' announced efforts to reclaim territory.

Burkinabe authorities confirmed on the evening of Monday, November 13, the massacres in Zaongo, in the north-central region of the country. According to the Burkina Faso Public Prosecutor at the Kaya Regional Court, Simon B. Gnanou, who visited the scene with a delegation, the number of people killed is estimated at 70 now, mainly children and elderly individuals (men and women).

"Houses have also been set on fire or partially destroyed," he reported. The perpetrators of these atrocities remain unknown. Authorities have stated that they are "continuing investigations," which should also help "specify the exact number of deaths, injuries, and possibly missing persons."

The news of this tragedy has caused shock throughout the country and internationally. Just before the official statement from Burkinabe authorities, the United States and the European Union called on the Ouagadougou military regime to "shed light on the circumstances" of this tragedy. According to sources citing the EU, the death toll may be underestimated and could reach a hundred.

As a reminder, some EU countries and the United States have not been partners with Burkina Faso for several months in the context of concerted counter-terrorism efforts in the Sahel, particularly in the three-border area between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. This area has been the main target of jihadist armed groups for almost a decade. UN troops, also supported by the U.S., and especially French troops, were expelled from these countries by the junta due to insufficient results in the face of the expanding threat.

The Zaongo massacre, one of the bloodiest incidents in Burkina Faso in recent months, illustrates the critical level of the security crisis that has shaken the country for nearly a decade, contributing to the complexity of the socio-economic and political situation. Captain Ibrahim Traoré seized power in 2022, accusing his predecessors of failing to manage the security issue. To tackle jihadist violence, he initiated an offensive that has already led to the recapture of some regions besieged by terrorists. However, according to Burkinabe authorities, nearly 40% of the territory remains under the control of these armed groups, intensifying their deadly assaults.

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ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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