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15 killed in two 'terrorist' attacks on Burkina villages - minister

The gunmen attacked the villages of Sagho and Toekodogo, in the Barsalogho district, on Saturday, Sy said in a statement, describing them as members of 'armed terrorist groups'.

FILE: Women hold a placard with an inscription 'No to intercommunity violents' during a demonstration on 22 June 2019 in front of the Ouagadougou courthouse to demand 'truth and justice' for the victims of Yirgou, a locality in northern Burkina Faso where retaliation against the Fulani community, after a terrorist attack, left 49 dead on 1 January 2019. Picture: AFP

OUAGADOUGOU - Two attacks by "armed terrorists" on villages in northern Burkina Faso left 15 people dead, the country's Defence Minister Cheriff Sy said Monday.

The gunmen attacked the villages of Sagho and Toekodogo, in the Barsalogho district, on Saturday, Sy said in a statement, describing them as members of "armed terrorist groups".

"These attacks unfortunately caused the death of 15 people, 13 of them in Sagho and two in Toekodogo," he said. The attackers also set fire to three shops and around 10 motorcycles.

Once alerted, soldiers and members of the security forces were deployed who put the assailants to flight, Sy added.

Burkina Faso has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a number of jihadist groups, including the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

More than 1,000 people have fled their homes because of the unrest in the region, finding refuge in the capital Ouagadougou, in the centre of the country.

The north of the former French colony, near the borders with Mali and Niger, has been particularly hard hit. The raids began in 2015 in the north before spreading to Ouagadougou and other regions, notably in the east.

The attacks have killed more than 460 people, according to an AFP tally.

Inter-communal violence, often aggravated by the jihadist violence, has added to the insecurity.

Last Tuesday, a jihadist attack in Belehede, in the northern province of Soum, claimed 17 lives.

In May, Burkina Faso's armed forces launched a major operation in the Sahel region in the north and centre-north of the country to try to crack down on the jihadist threat.

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