Burkina troops killed in ‘major terrorist attack’

OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) – More than a dozen soldiers died on Monday during a “major attack” by “terrorist armed groups” in northern Burkina Faso, the army said.

With other soldiers still missing, the death toll could hit 20 dead, several security sources said.

“In the early morning, the military detachment of the Koutougou department in Soum province was the target of an attack,” said a statement from the general staff. “A provisional report states that more than a dozen soldiers were killed, and several were wounded.”

The poor Sahel state of Burkina Faso has been battling a rising wave of militant violence over the last four years which began in the north but has since spread to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.

The heaviest militant attack against Burkina’s army to date left 12 soldiers dead at Nassoumbou, also in Soum province, in December 2016.

More than 40 militants aboard pickup trucks and on motorcycles laid assault to a military post close to the Mali border.