Suspected extremist attack kills 16 soldiers in Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — An attack by suspected Islamic extremist rebels on a military unit in Burkina Faso Friday has killed at least 16 security forces and injured many others, the army announced.

A dozen military soldiers and four volunteer fighters who work alongside the army died when their military unit was attacked at 5 a.m. in Namissiguima town in the Center North region, said a statement by the armed forces. An additional 21 soldiers were wounded and equipment was also damaged, said the statement.

Burkina Faso is grappling with rising jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group that’s killed thousands and displaced some 2 million people.

This is the latest in a series against the military. At least 40 security forces were killed in the last two weeks of March according to an internal security report for aid groups seen by The Associated Press.

The Friday attack involved a car bomb and was carefully planned, according to security analysts.

“In addition to this being a sign of how (the) security situation continues to deteriorate, it also shows the ability of jihadist groups to carry (out) sophisticated and complex attacks,” said Rida Lyammouri, senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, a Moroccan-based organization focused on economics and policy.

“Jihadists control the area just north of where the incident occurred, so they had the time and information to plan this complex attack,” he said.

Civilians living in nearby towns without military support say they’re worried the violence is going to spread. “Namissiguima is the only place that has a military detachment around here,” said a resident of the nearby Kongoussi town who insisted on anonymity for his safety. “We hope the attacks don’t expand.”

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