Burkina Faso. More than 30 dead in the attack on the town of Arbinda | News

For years, armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL have sought to take control of parts of the Sahel.

Armed fighters killed at least eight people collecting water in a town in northern Burkina Faso, its mayor said.

The incident, which happened on Monday morning, brings the total death toll in three days of violence in the troubled area to more than 30.

Monday’s attack took place in Arbinda, in the province of Soum, which has suffered several deadly raids by armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIL) who have sought for years to take the control of a strip of arid terrain where Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger meet.

Mayor Boureima Werem told Reuters the gunmen have been targeting water towers and pumps in recent weeks, in an apparent new tactic.

In separate incidents in northern Burkina Faso, at least 15 people, including 13 military police officers, were killed in Namentenga province on Sunday, military police said, and on Saturday nine people were killed in a an assault on an informal gold mine in the province of Oudalan, said a security source.

A campaign of violence has already killed thousands and forced more than 2 million to flee their homes in the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert.

The killings have persisted despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops, undermining trust in the region’s elected governments.

Frustration over the government’s lack of control led to protests in Burkina Faso that culminated in a military coup in January. In Mali, soldiers took power in August 2020.

The unrest in the Sahel began when fighters took control of Mali’s desert north in 2012, prompting France to intervene the following year to try to push them back. But the fighters have regrouped in recent years and seized the territory.

In June 2019, an attack in Arbinda killed 19 people.

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