Six people were shot dead by police in eastern Burkina Faso during a “terrorist attack” on a security patrol on Monday, December 3, security sources said.
A police officer was also wounded in the incident at about 0500 GMT near Bougui, around 10 km (6 miles) from Fada N’Gourma, the main town in the East Region administrative area, a source said.
“A patrol team of the territorial gendarmerie brigade of Fada N’Gourma was ambushed in the village of Bougui,” a security source told AFP.
“The terrorists opened fire at the convoy, damaging the lead vehicle.”
The police responded, firing on the attackers, killing six of them but leaving one officer with a foot injury, another security source said.
“Several weapons, including Kalashnikovs and ammunition,” were seized from the assailants, the source added.
The security patrol was attacked during an operation to dismantle a cache of weapons belonging to suspected terrorists in the nearby area, a local official said.
Update December 3 The National Gendarmerie later confirmed the incident in a statement, saying that the team was “on a reconnaissance and arrest mission” when it was ambushed.
Two “alleged terrorists” had been arrested earlier and were handcuffed in the vehicle at the time. They were killed along with four others in the ensuing clashes.
Four “Kalashnikov rifles” and four magazines were recovered.
One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso has been battling an escalating wave of attacks over the last three years, beginning in the North region near the border with Mali. Attacks have spread to the East region, near the border with Togo, Benin and Niger.
A recent surge in attacks in the east is said by some analysts to be the result of pressure on jihadist insurgents in neighboring Mali and Niger.
On Friday four police officers and a civilian were killed near Boungou when their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb and gun attack.
President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré said in September that additional security measures would be unveiled to “resume the initiative” throughout Burkina Faso “to eradicate the curse of terrorism.” Security forces have detained hundreds of people in connection with attacks.
In September, Burkina Faso’s armed forces conducted air strikes and clearance operations in the Pama and Gayeri areas in the East Region. The military said “terrorist bases” were destroyed in the operations.
In early October, the French armed forces confirmed that helicopters were used in operations in the East Region, only the second time that French aerial forces had been used in Burkina Faso.
According to a report in late September, jihadist attacks have claimed 229 lives in the country since 2015.
With reporting from AFP