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More Than 160 Killed in Deadliest Attack of Burkina Faso’s War

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO – The government of Burkina Faso has declared three days of mourning following an attack that left at least 160 people dead late last week in the northern village of Solhan.
The International Committee for the Red Cross, noting that local hospitals are overwhelmed, said it responded Sunday morning to a request for medical supplies in Dori, a town in northern Burkina Faso.
“Upon requests for support by the health authorities in Dori, we sent half a ton of medical support, mainly dressings, medication, sets of plaster, syringes, and anesthetic, was really important to be sent with no delay,” Laurent Saugy, the head of the Burkina Faso delegation of the International Committee for the Red Cross, told VOA.
The attack happened overnight Friday on the village of Solhan, located in Yagha province, near the border with Niger, in the country’s Sahel region.
The extent of the carnage is not known because the number of dead and injured continues to rise. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although analysts say it could be the work of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
The attack is the deadliest since the conflict between Burkina Faso and armed groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group began in 2015. This weekend’s violence follows a period of relative calm.
Between March 2020 and April 2021, the number of attacks in Burkina Faso fell dramatically. Since the beginning of April, seven major attacks have come in quick succession.
On May 17, Burkina Faso’s foreign minister, Cherif Sy, visited Sebba, the nearest town to Solhan. He said the situation in Sebba was favorable and that peace had returned to the area.
Mahamadou Sawadogo, a Burkinabe security analyst and former military police officer, told VOA that this attack could be seen as a show of force, a demonstration of power by armed terrorist groups. He said that they have shown they control the province of Yagha and particularly the area of Solhan, which they have been trying to conquer since 2020.  

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