Gunmen killed around 30 people at a livestock market in the eastern Burkina Faso town of Kompienbiga, local residents said Sunday, in an attack blamed by a security source on jihadists.
The assailants “burst into the market riding motorbikes and started shooting, especially at people who were trying to flee”, one resident said, estimating the death toll at around 30 from the attack on Saturday.
A second resident said: “It’s hard to say how many people were killed. There were bodies in the market and others in the bush.”
But he added: “More than 30 bodies were collected” after the attack. He said his brother was at the market at the time and he had had “no news” from him since.
A local official put the death toll at “several dozen” including vendors and residents, while a security source said “armed terrorists” carried out the attack while declining to estimate how many were killed.
The attack came a day after a convoy of main shopkeepers escorted by a local self-defence unit came under fire in the north of the West African country, leaving 15 dead.
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The bloodshed in Loroum province was also blamed on jihadists.
The east and north of the former French colony are the hardest hit by attacks by jihadists, who have killed more than 900 people and caused some 860,000 people to flee their homes in the past five years.
Burkina Faso’s armed forces are leading counter-terror operations with increasing frequency.
The impoverished Sahel country is part of a regional effort to battle an Islamist insurgency along with Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Chad.
Their militaries, under-equipped and poorly trained, are struggling despite help from France, which has 5,000 troops in the region.
Unrest in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger killed around 4,000 people last year, according to UN figures.