Jihadists launch coordinated assault in Burkina Faso

A military post in northern Burkina Faso close to the borders with Mali was the target of a coordinated assault early this morning. At least 11 Burkinabe soldiers and one gendarme were killed in the attack, which was attributed to jihadists. Reuters reported Friday’s attack about 19 miles from the Malian border began at around 5 a.m. local time and was carried out “by about 40 heavily armed individuals who have not yet been identified,” the army told them in a statement.

Local media added that some of the dead were killed after being burned alive, while military equipment, including vehicles, were taken from the post during the assault.

No terrorist group has yet laid claim the attack, but several jihadist groups are known to operate in this area. This includes al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s Katibat al Murabitoon, led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, and its Tuareg front group Ansar Dine. Another group, Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), a splinter cell of Murabitoon led by Abu Walid al Sahrawi, also operates there.

Murabitoon has claimed two kidnappings in northern Burkina Faso in the last two years, while several gendarmerie posts have fallen under attack this year. The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara has claimed at least two assaults in northern Burkina Faso since September. Ansar Dine’s Katibat Macina is also responsible several attacks along the Mali-Burkina Faso borders.

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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1 Comment

  • TruthfulJames says:

    Would appreciate a tad more evaluation regarding the loyalties of these Jihadist groups.

    It appears that these are part of the horizontally organized al Qaeda, but there have been defections by some of these groups to Daesh.

    The al Qaeda groups have been recruited through the Sunni mosque building program funded by Saudi oil money with radical Wahhabi Salafist imams sent as it were as missionaries. We may be able to trace some of the financing through proceeds from piracy operations with ransoms willingly paid by the insurance companies. Those inland branches make a living from ransoms as well.

    The rise of Daesh with its greater brutalities and the promise of an independent Caliphate has resulted in shifting loyalties among the Sunni radical groups. For aQ units Saudi Arabia with its holy cities is the Caliphate.


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