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At least 16 govt forces killed in Burkina attack, says army

OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) – At least 12 troops and four army auxiliaries were killed on Friday in an attack by suspected extreminist on a military detachment in Burkina Faso, the army said.

“A complex attack targetted the Namissiguima military detachment,” the army said in a statement.

“The provisional toll after the fighting is 12 soldiers and four VDP (Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland) dead,” it said, adding that 21 soldiers were wounded.

The VDP, poorly trained and armed civilian auxiliaries in the army, have paid a heavy price in the fight against extremist in Burkina Faso.

A security source confirmed the attack and a “heavy toll on the friendly side”, without giving figures.

Northern Burkina Faso is a flashpoint for attacks by insurgents who started making bloody cross-border raids from neighbouring Mali in 2015. Their campaign has claimed some 2,000 lives and displaced some 1.8 million people.

One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso has been ruled by a military junta since January.

Mutinous colonels seized power as anger mounted over the failure of the country’s elected president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, to roll back the insurgency.

Kabore’s successor, Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, has declared security to be a priority.

But a surge of attacks in recent weeks has claimed dozens of lives, both civilian and military.