According to a statement that was reported by AFP on Friday, a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Burkina Faso that focuses on human rights has accused the army of killing at least 25 people, including a lady and a baby, in the east of the country this week. These allegations were initially met with silence from both the military and the government of Burkina Faso. One of the parts of Burkina Faso that is one of the most severely impacted by the violence caused by jihadist groups, which is being fought by the army and its auxiliary, is the east of the country.
“The Collective against Impunity and Stigmatization of Communities (CISC) was seized by several relatives of victims” on the evening of February 1, when they reported “allegations of summary executions of civilians attributed to the Burkinabe Defense and Security Forces (FDS) in the localities of Piega, Sakoani, and Kankangou,” according to a statement from CISC that was sent to AFP on Friday.
According to the CISC, the executions took place in these three communities along the National Road 4 (RN4) when a convoy of “more than a hundred vehicles” left Wednesday for the Boungou gold mine. “Dozens of 4×4 pickup trucks with FDS in military uniforms” surrounded the convoy and kept it safe. According to the CISC, the village of Sakoani, located approximately 125 kilometers away from Fada N’Gourma, the capital of the eastern region, reported twelve deaths, including three females and a baby. The village of Piega, located approximately 60 kilometers away from Fada N’Gourma, reported seven deaths, including four females. Six deaths were reported in the hamlet of Kankangou, which is part of the village of Sampiéri.
Following the passage of the truck, residents of Sakoani who were called by the AFP stated that they discovered “eleven bodies” that were lifeless after the event. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICSC), “the death toll continues to grow as the information reaches us from the field.” The victims are said to have been reported by witnesses as “unarmed civilians,” in accordance with the NGO.
In addition to demanding an end to these “crimes against humanity,” the CISC has also asked for “an independent and impartial judicial inquiry into these crimes.” The CISC claims it will continue to “gather information in order to bring all those responsible and their sponsors to justice.” According to the CISC, the local populace in a number of different locations in Burkina Faso routinely reports further occurrences of extrajudicial executions. On the eve of the New Year, civilian army auxiliaries were blamed for the deaths of 28 individuals in the northwestern region of Burkina Faso.
Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been the target of an increasing number of attacks by jihadist groups with ties to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. They are largely to blame for two military coups that took place in 2022 and resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and the displacement of at least two million others.