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Burkina’s junta announces military zones, forbids entry

OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) – Burkina Faso’s ruling junta is creating two military zones in the north and east – reputed havens for extremists – where “human presence is forbidden”, the army said late on Monday.

The decision was taken at a defence council convened on Monday by junta leader Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba to discuss the country’s “worrying security situation”.

“The council decided to create two zones of military interest in the East and (northern) Sahel regions,” the head of domestic operations, Lieutenant Colonel Yves Didier Bamouni, said.

Bamouni said the aim was to make it easier to combat “the terrorist hydra”.

The areas are in the northern Soum province bordering Mali, and the protected natural reserves between Pama and the “W” National Park in the east.

All human activity and human presence will be banned in the zones. Anyone who ventures into them risks exposing themselves “to the military operations that will be conducted there shortly”, Bamouni said.

A man holds a portrait of Lt Col Paul Henri Damiba who has taken the reins of Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou. PHOTO: AP

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