Suspected jihadis killed 14 soldiers Monday in an attack in northern Burkina Faso, the defense ministry said, in the latest bloodshed to hit the region plagued by Islamist violence.
“The military detachment of Yirgou” in the Centre-Nord region’s Barsalogho department was “the target of a terrorist attack” around 0500 GMT on Monday, junior defense minister General Aime Barthelemy Simpore said.
“Fourteen soldiers were killed during the fighting and seven wounded were evacuated,” he said in a statement, with the death toll higher than the nine given earlier by security sources.
“Several terrorists were neutralized during the response,” he added, praising the soldiers’ “great fighting spirit.”
A ground and air counteroffensive was immediately launched to “neutralize the attackers,” he added.
A security source told AFP an enormous amount of equipment was lost, with some burned and some taken away by the attackers.
Burkina Faso has seen regular, deadly jihadi attacks since 2015, mostly in the northern and eastern regions close to the Mali and Niger borders.
But on Saturday, it was the south that was hit, with two soldiers killed by a makeshift bomb in Larabin near the Ivory Coast border.
Back in the north, five soldiers were killed during a reconnaissance mission in Mentao last Wednesday, also by a makeshift bomb, the armed forces said.
In mid-September, a suspected jihadi attack killed six gendarmes escorting fuel tanks for a mining company.
Such attacks, normally blamed on jihadi groups affiliated to the Islamic State or al-Qaida, have killed around 2,000 people and forced more than 1.4 million to flee their homes.