Tuesday, May 24

Barchan. Four French soldiers injured in an explosion in Burkina Faso

Four French soldiers were injured in Burkina Faso when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded as their vehicle passed by in the north of the country, the French general staff announced on Tuesday evening. “The all-terrain vehicle exploded on an IED at the exit of Ouahigouya airport,” said the staff, adding that it was a “Barkhane unit on a reconnaissance mission”.

Probable repatriation to France

Four soldiers were injured, one seriously. “They were immediately evacuated to Gao”, in Mali. “Those who deserve it will be evacuated to France”, we continued from the same source, without further details on their state of health.

The area is rather frequented by jihadists from the GSIM (or JNIM, a jihadist nebula affiliated with Al-Qaeda). But “it’s a transit zone, we have no certainty” about the origin of the machine, said the same source. The Sahel is also the prey of the jihadists of the EIGS, linked to the Islamic State group.

More than 2,000 dead in six years

The anti-jihadist force Barkhane, present since 2014 in Mali and whose mission is extended to the Sahel, is at the heart of major bilateral political issues, against the backdrop of accusations of recourse by Mali to the services of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, as well as the reorganization of the French military presence in the country.

Like its neighbors in Mali and Niger, Burkina Faso has also been caught up in a spiral of violence since 2015 attributed to armed jihadist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and IS. The army is struggling to contain the violence that has killed more than 2,000 people in six years, and forced more than 1.5 million people to flee their homes.

At least a dozen civilians were killed on Saturday in an attack in northern Burkina Faso, security and local sources said on Sunday.


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