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Burkina Faso says it is investigating northern killings 

FILE - A mural is seen, March 1, 2023, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
FILE - A mural is seen, March 1, 2023, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso is investigating killings in two northern villages in February, a government spokesperson said Saturday, dismissing a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report about the Burkinabe army's alleged execution of 223 people there.

Citing telephone interviews with witnesses, civil society and others, the HRW report released Thursday accused the military of executing residents of Nodin and Soro, including at least 56 children, as part of a campaign against civilians accused of collaborating with jihadi militants.

Government spokesperson Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo rejected HRW's allegations as "peremptory" and denied that the ruling junta was unwilling to look into the alleged atrocities.

"The killings in Nodin and Soro have led to the opening of a judicial investigation," Ouedraogo said in a late evening communique, citing a March 1 statement by a regional prosecutor.

Violence in the region fueled by the decade-long fight with Islamist groups linked to al- Qaida and Islamic State has worsened since respective militaries seized power in Burkina Faso and neighboring Mali and Niger in a series of coups from 2020 to 2023.

Burkina Faso saw a severe escalation of deadly attacks in 2023, with more than 8,000 people reportedly killed, according to U.S.-based crisis-monitoring group ACLED.

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