Burkina Faso's Army Massacred 223 Villagers in Revenge Attack – HRW - Latest Global News

Burkina Faso’s Army Massacred 223 Villagers in Revenge Attack – HRW

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 220 civilians, including at least 56 children, were massacred by Burkina Faso’s military in a single day this year.

In attacks on February 25, the army killed 179 people in the village of Soro and 44 others in the nearby village of Nondin, an HRW investigation found.

HRW called the mass killings “one of the worst attacks by the army” in the country in nearly a decade.

Burkinabe authorities have not commented on the report.

Last month, prosecutor Aly Benjamin Coulibaly called for witnesses to identify the group behind the mass killings. He put the preliminary death toll at 170.

Villagers who survived the attack told HRW that a military convoy with over 100 soldiers arrived in the village of Nondin about 30 minutes after Islamist fighters passed nearby.

The soldiers went door to door and drove residents out of their homes.

“They then herded the villagers into groups before opening fire on them,” the report said, citing witness and survivor accounts.

An hour later, they arrived in Soro, about five kilometers away, and also gathered and shot at the villagers, the survivors added.

In both villages, soldiers also shot those who tried to hide or escape, witnesses said.

The mass killings are believed to be a retaliation by the military, which accused the villagers of supporting armed Islamist fighters.

They followed an attack by Islamist militants on a nearby military camp in the northern province of Yatenga.

One survivor was quoted as saying that before the shootings, soldiers had accused residents of not cooperating with them by not informing them about the Islamist militants’ movements.

“The massacres in the villages of Nondin and Soro are just the latest mass killings of civilians by the Burkina Faso military as part of its counterinsurgency operations,” said Tirana Hassan, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

The Sahel country is ruled by a military junta that seized power in a coup in 2022 and promised to end the uprising.

However, violence continued to escalate, with more than a third of Burkina Faso controlled by jihadist groups.

International and human rights groups, including the European Union and the United Nations, have accused Burkina Faso of serious human rights abuses in its fight against insurgency, including the indiscriminate killings and enforced disappearances of dozens of civilians.

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