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Latest Burkina Faso attack kills 55

Gunmen have killed at least 55 people at the weekend in northern Burkina Faso, authorities say, the latest attack in the West African country where mounting violence is blamed on Islamic extremists.

Suspected militants targeted civilians in Seytenga in Seno province, government spokesman Wendkouni Joel Lionel Bilgo said at a news conference on Monday. While the government put the official toll at 55, others put the figure far higher.

Attacks linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group are soaring in Burkina Faso, particularly in the north. Jihadists killed at least 160 people in an attack in the town of Solhan in June 2021.

In January, mutinous soldiers ousted the democratically elected president, promising to secure the nation, but violence has only increased. The government is asking people to remain united in the fight against the insurgents.

While no group claimed the weekend attack, conflict analysts say it was likely carried out by the Islamic State group.

Nearly 5000 people have died during the past two years in Burkina Faso because of violence blamed on Islamic extremists. Another two million people have fled their homes, deepening the country’s humanitarian crisis.

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