Burkina Faso: 25 displaced civilians killed by armed assailants

An internally displaced woman in Kaya, Burkina Faso, February 2020 An internally displaced woman in Kaya, Burkina Faso, February 2020 UNHCR/Sylvain Cherkaoui

08 October 2020

UNHCR has released a statement condemning the brutal killing of 25 internally displaced people returning home from the Burkinabe town of Pissila

On the night of 4 October, armed assailants ambushed a convoy carrying 46 internally displaced persons (IDPs) across Burkina Faso’s Sanmatenga province, in the country’s Centre-Nord region. According to the survivors’ testimony, the men were separated from the rest of the group and executed. Among them, one was left for dead and managed to survive. Women and children were released and reached the town of Pissila, nine kilometers far from the site of the attack.

In recent years, Burkina Faso has experienced a dramatic surge in armed violence, mostly driven by the increasing activism of jihadist armed groups who have consolidated their criminal networks throughout the Western Sahel. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Burkina Faso is now “the world’s fastest-growing displacement and protection crisis”. Over one million people are now displaced within the country, amounting to more than 5% of the population.

UNHCR strongly condemned the attack: “We are heartbroken by news of this brutal and callous act,” said Ioli Kimyaci, the agency’s Representative in Burkina Faso. The ambush targeted displaced families who were going back to their homes, hoping to find an improved security situation. “Innocent civilians are seeking safety but instead are paying with their lives with alarming frequency,” added Kimyaci.


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Author: Ester Zangrandi

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