The authorities in northern Burkina Faso have announced investigations into the massacre that took place on Thursday in the village of Karma in Yatenga province. “About 60 people were killed by people wearing the uniforms of our national armed forces,” said Ouahigouya City District Attorney Lamine Kabore. “The injured have been evacuated to safety and are currently receiving medical treatment.” The attackers “stole various goods”.
According to the AFP news agency, survivors spoke of around 80 deaths. More than 100 attackers invaded the village on motorcycles and pick-ups. Karma is close to the Malian border – there are illegal gold mines around the village.
The French newspaper “Libération” even reports at least 150 dead. She cites humanitarian workers with the theory that army personnel had been tasked with retaking the Islamist-held region but were allegedly unaware that civilians continued to live in the village. It is also unusual that the victims were traditional farmers from the Mossi community, who are generally closer to the country’s elite than the traditional Fulani herdsmen.
General mobilization against Islamist terror
In northern Burkina Faso, Islamist terrorists are expanding their sphere of influence from Mali. Just a week earlier, a suspected jihadist-motivated attack had taken place in the region, killing 34 volunteer security forces and six soldiers. Mali’s military regime then called for a “general mobilization” to give the state “all the necessary means” to fight against such attacks.
The military leadership under Captain Ibrahim Traoré is under great pressure – after all, they staged a coup against former interim president Paul-Henri Damiba in September because they felt he had not done enough to ensure the country’s security. Traoré has proclaimed the goal of regaining control of the 40 percent of the country that is de facto controlled by terrorists.
spiral of violence
According to current information, he wants to recruit 5,000 additional soldiers – in addition to tens of thousands of volunteers – so that this can succeed. According to a decree, any physically fit adult who is not yet a member of the army is called up “according to the needs expressed by the competent authorities”.
In Burkina Faso alone, according to non-governmental organizations, the violence of the past few years has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people and forced two million people to flee. Security is a widespread problem in the entire Sahel region, which is already being further destabilized by climate change in the form of droughts and failed harvests. The coup in Burkina Faso was the seventh in just over two years; Traoré’s predecessor had also come into office in this way. Traoré renewed his promise to hold elections for a civilian government in 2024.
ehl/kle/nmm (afp, rtr, Liberation.fr)