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Death Toll From Burkina Faso Attack Rises to 53

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People hold a protest following an attack on security forces that killed 53 people, calling on Burkina Faso's President Roch Kabore to resign, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Nov. 16, 2021.

The death toll from Sunday’s attack by militants on Burkina Faso military police has risen to 53. The attack is the deadliest on security forces during Burkina Faso’s six-year-long battle with Islamist militants.

Burkina Faso’s communications minister said Thursday that 49 military police and four civilians were killed in the attack on a military police base in the north.

A security source told VOA Thursday morning that the death toll is likely to rise further.

The attack was the deadliest for the country’s security forces since the battle between the government and armed groups linked to Islamic State, al-Qaida and local bandits began six years ago.

The event has caused a public outcry and small protests, with about 300 people taking to the streets of Ouagadougou on Tuesday.

Adama Tiendrebeogo was among the protesters.

“Politically, we say that President [Roch] Kabore has failed in his responsibilities. He took an oath to protect the Burkinabé people who he has failed, so we think he has to leave,” he said.

Asked what the mood was among those who had joined the protest, he said that people think it’s a pity that for six years the country has been at war, and that we are still fighting.

“So, there are no solutions, there is no hope, no prospects, the Burkinabé people feel abandoned by their captain,” Tiendrebeogo added.

The minister of communication did not immediately respond to requests for a comment.

Meanwhile, the opposition has called for president Kabore, to resign.

A statement by Eddie Kombiego, leader of the opposition CDP party, on Tuesday said, “This situation arose because of the notorious incompetence of the Kabore regime.”

The government is keen to be seen as taking action. During a Cabinet meeting yesterday, the president sought to blame shortcomings in the military police for the attack.

Two security personnel responsible for the northern area of the country, where the attack took place, were subsequently removed from their posts on Wednesday.

The president also suggested that food supply issues in the military were a problem and needed to be dealt with.

An unverified document, which appeared to have been leaked from the military, circulated on social media earlier this week. It showed the base in Inata, where the attack happened, had been suffering from food supply issues for two weeks.

Personnel from the base were said to have been forced to slaughter local animals for food.

Andrew Lebovich, an analyst with the European Council on Foreign Relations, says the Islamist threat is a huge challenge.

“On the security front, I think this shows how difficult it is and how much trouble the government has had, even in the face of ongoing security operations, to confront and to deal with the militant threat, particularly near the borders with Mali and Niger.… It really is, any place, a quite dire security situation,” Lebovich said.

More protests are expected to take place next week.

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