OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO - "Several dozen" people were killed on Monday in an attack by suspected jihadists in Kodyel, a locality in Komandjari province in eastern Burkina Faso, sources told Agence France-Presse.
"A large number of armed individuals attacked the village of Kodyel in the commune of Foutouri this morning, killing dozens of civilians," a joint regional security source told AFP.
The official of the Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland (VDP), a civilian auxiliary engaged in the anti-jihadist fight alongside defense and security forces, confirmed the attack, speaking of a "very heavy toll," at minimum, "20 to 30 deaths."
"It is still a provisional assessment because people have fled the village," said the official, who also reported "about 30 dead men and women." He said there were also "about 20 injured,” several of them seriously.
The VDP official said that "this massacre could have been avoided" because "warnings had been given a few days ago about the presence of terrorists in the area. Some individuals had already threatened the villagers, whom they accused of denouncing them."
"An operation to secure populations and track down these individuals was launched as soon as the alert was given by the VDP," the source added.
He told AFP that "the attack took place early this morning while some were still in their homes. Dozens of men broke into the village and set houses on fire for a while. … They opened fire on people without distinction."
"The terrorists also injured around 15 people, some of whom were evacuated to the Fada N'Gourma hospital center for treatment," he added.
The attack, one of the deadliest in the eastern region, comes a week after an ambush against a mixed anti-poaching unit on the Fada N'Gourma-Pama axis, during which two Spanish journalists and an Irish conservationist were killed.
A poor country in West Africa, Burkina Faso has been plagued by recurrent jihadist attacks since 2015, like its neighbors Mali and Niger.