A number of Burkina Faso security forces were killed early on Tuesday, August 28, after their vehicle struck a roadside bomb near the town of Pama in the eastern part of the country, according to security sources.
Seven were killed, AFP reported security sources as saying.
The fatalities were gendarmes and troops who were sent to Pama in Kompienga province as reinforcements after a police station there came under attack, they said. One of the sources said the blast killed eight people.
“Seven members of the defence and security forces were killed and another six were wounded, two of whom are in a precarious condition,” a government statement later said of the incident not far from Fada N’Gourma, the main town in the Eastern Region.
Citing security sources, Infowakat reported that the Pama Gendarmerie Brigade came under a two-hour-long attack starting around 1:30 a.m. on August 27. No one was killed in the assault, and the assailants burned buildings before they left the scene.
According to Infowakat, military reinforcements traveling from Fada hit an improvised explosive device hidden in the paved road, killing six personnel and injuring “many.”
According to Radio Omega, eight ‘military and gendarmes’ personnel were killed in the IED explosion.
#BurkinaFaso: Striking resemblance with the MO utilized on September 22-23, 2017 on the axis Djibo-Mentao (#Soum) #AnsaroulIslam militants attacked and burned the police post in Mentao, #GFAT (CT-unit) reinforcements en route subjected to IED ambush near Wouro Saba
— MENASTREAM (@MENASTREAM) August 28, 2018
One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso has been battling an escalating wave of attacks over the last three years, beginning with cross-border incursions in the north of the country but now spreading to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.
The recent surge of attacks in the east is the result of pressure on jihadist insurgents in neighbouring Mali and Niger, experts say.
On August 11, six people, five of them police, were killed in a “terrorist” bomb and gun attack near the Boungou gold mine near Fada N’Gourma in eastern Burkina Faso.
On June 17, a police officer was killed in the town of Comin-Yanga in a simultaneous attack on the local police and gendarmerie stations.
Official figures released in April showed there had been 80 attacks in three years that had killed 133 people, many of them state officials. Hundreds of schools and town halls have been closed.
The capital Ouagadougou, in the centre of the country, has suffered three attacks in two years, leaving 60 dead.
Security forces have carried out a series of arrests in recent months, detaining hundreds of people in connection with the attacks.
With reporting from AFP. This post was updated on August 28 to include the government statement and additional background.