For years, armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL have sought to gain control over parts of the Sahel. Armed fighters have killed at least eight people who were collecting water in a town in northern Burkina Faso, its mayor has said.
The incident, which occurred on Monday morning, brings the total killed in three days of violence in the restive area to more than 30.
Monday’s attack took place in Arbinda, in the province of Soum, which has suffered several deadly raids by armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) that for years have sought to gain control over a swathe of arid terrain where Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger meet.
Mayor Boureima Werem told Reuters the gunmen have been targeting water towers and pumps in recent weeks, in an apparent new tactic.
In separate incidents in northern Burkina Faso, at least 15 people, including 13 military police officers, were killed in Namentenga province on Sunday, the military police said, and on Saturday, nine people were killed in an assault on an informal gold mine in the province of Oudalan, a security source said.
A campaign of violence has already killed thousands of people and forced more than 2 million to flee their homes in the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert.
Killings have persisted despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops, undermining faith in elected governments in the region.
Frustration over the lack of government control led to protests in Burkina Faso that culminated in a military coup in January. In Mali, soldiers took power in August 2020.
Turmoil in the Sahel started when fighters took over Mali’s desert north in 2012, prompting France to intervene the following year in an attempt to push them back. But the fighters have regrouped in recent years and seized territory.
In June 2019, an attack in Arbinda left 19 people dead.