At least 170 killed in attacks in Burkina Faso

Updated March 4 2024 - 5:25am, first published 5:20am
At least 170 people have died in the latest flare up of violence in Burkina Faso. (AP PHOTO)
At least 170 people have died in the latest flare up of violence in Burkina Faso. (AP PHOTO)

At least 170 people have been killed in a series of attacks in northern Burkina Faso, according to Attorney General Aly Benjamin Coulibaly.

A team from the public prosecutor's office visited the affected villages where they witnessed the aftermath of a string of massive attacks in the Yatenga province last weekend, Coulibaly said in a statement on Saturday evening.

The authorities had initially not published a death toll.

On the same weekend, 29 worshippers died in separate attacks on a church and a mosque. So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Several Islamist groups are active in the north of Burkina Faso, including militias that have sworn allegiance to Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

According to surveys by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), more than 8400 people were killed in the conflict between militants and the government in Burkina Faso last year, including at least 2300 civilians.

On Monday, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze is expected for talks in the West African nation. She is set to become the first European minister to visit the country following the military coup led by Ibrahim Traore in 2022.

The military interim government only controls about half of the nation's territory, according to estimates, and has postponed elections scheduled for this year indefinitely.

More than two million people have had to flee their homes due to the ongoing conflict.

Like its neighbours Mali and Niger, also under military rule, Burkina Faso is moving ever closer to Russia.

All three African countries have turned their backs on the extremely unpopular former colonial power France, which previously supported the region in the fight against terrorism.

Schulze is also the chairwoman of the Sahel Alliance, which was founded by Germany, France and the European Union to support the states in the region.

Germany is the fourth largest donor behind the World Bank, France and the European Union.

Schulze is also expected to be accompanied on her visit by a World Bank executive.

Australian Associated Press