Not less than 10 troopers have been killed and 6 wounded in an assault on an Ivory Coast army publish close to the nation’s border with Burkina Faso, in keeping with the military.
It was not but clear who carried out the predawn assault on Thursday, which was the deadliest in Ivory Coast since gunmen from al-Qaeda’s North African department stormed the seaside resort of Grand Bassam in March 2016, killing 19 folks.
The top of the armed forces, Lassina Doumbia, mentioned in a press release that 10 troopers have been killed and 6 wounded. He added that one of many attackers was additionally killed.
Earlier, a senior officer on the military chief of workers’s workplace mentioned 12 troopers had been killed and 7 wounded, and added that two different army gendarmes have been reported lacking.
The fighters have been believed to have come from Burkina Faso, with which the Ivory Coast shares a 550km (340-mile) border.
A resident of the Ivorian city of Kafolo informed AFP information company he heard “the sounds of rifles towards the river” in the course of the assault.
“We’re hiding within the homes with our households. The army has forbidden us to exit. Every thing is closed.”
Fears over unfold of Sahel violence
A 2012 separatist motion in Mali sparked a “fireball of battle” within the semi-arid Sahel area in north-central Africa, with violence by numerous armed teams, together with a number of al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) offshoots, spreading throughout the borders of Niger and Burkina Faso in recent times.
All three nations have seen a dramatic rise in assaults and displacement, with the state of affairs additional stoked by intercommunal violence met with the deployment of nationwide, regional and worldwide forces and native militias.
About 4,000 folks have been killed in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in 2019 with hundreds displaced, in keeping with the United Nations.
Safety analysts have lengthy anxious the escalating violence within the Sahel would unfold into the coastal states on the Gulf of Guinea, with fighters utilizing Burkina Faso as a launching level to assault neighbours Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo and Ghana.
However whereas a number of assaults have taken place close to the border of the Ivory Coast on the Burkina Faso aspect, the violence had not in recent times crossed into the Ivorian aspect. Benin, Togo and Ghana had additionally but to be attacked by fighters from Burkina Faso, in keeping with Worldwide Disaster Group (ICG).
Whereas the Gulf of Guinea nations are typically wealthier than their northern neighbours, ICG has warned that also they are ripe to be exploited by armed teams and infrequently lack coordination.
“They are stricken by the identical underdevelopment of peripheries distant from the seat of energy, in style disenchantment with absent or brutal state authorities, and shortcomings in intelligence and safety companies,” it mentioned in a 2019 report.
In response to the northern risk, the Financial Group of West African States (ECOWAS) has lobbied for large-scale army operations within the space.
Thursday’s assault occurred in the identical zone the place Ouagadougou and Yamoussoukro final month launched a ground-breaking joint operation to flush out fighters.
So-called “Operation Comoe”, named after a river that flows via the 2 nations, has led to the dying of eight fighters, the seize of 38 others and the destruction of a “terrorist base” at Alidougou in Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast military mentioned on Could 24.
Al Jazeera and information companies