The UN refugee agency condemned on Tuesday an attack on a village in Burkina Faso’s turbulent north, which left 138 people dead and displaced thousands more.
“UNHCR … strongly condemns the latest attack by armed groups that killed at least 138 civilians in Burkina Faso, the deadliest attack since 2015,” Babar Baloch, the agency’s spokesperson, said in Geneva.
Gunmen stormed the village of Solhan, near the border with Niger, over the weekend, killing men, women and children and burning homes and the local market. Nearly 40 people were seriously injured.
“Fearing for their lives, over 3,300 people fled to the nearby villages of Sebba and Sampelga, among them more than 2,000 children and over 500 women,” Baloch said.
Those displaced are being cared for by locals. Burkinabe authorities have delivered almost 400 tonnes of food and thousands of relief items. Work is underway to build 200 shelters, but more resources are needed to scale up the response.
Violence in the West African country’s Sahel region, a breeding ground for Islamist insurgency, has escalated since 2019. The UN estimates that more than 1.2 million Burkinabes have been displaced in less than three years.