Burkina Faso

Death toll rises after Burkina Faso attack

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

The military in Burkina Faso says the number of soldiers killed in a suspected jihadist attack on Monday has risen to 24.

Dozens of militants are reported to have stormed the army base in northern Soum province, arriving on motorbikes and pick-up trucks.

This is believed to be the heaviest loss the army has suffered in its campaign against Islamist militias.

Burkina Faso's main opposition party has called on the government to resign, accusing it of failing to contain the jihadists who have killed hundreds of people in recent years.

Burkinabe gendarmes sit on their vehicle in the north of the country in 2018.
Security forces have been under pressure as militant attacks increase

Burkina Faso soldiers killed in 'barbaric attack'

A Burkina Faso soldier on patrol - archive shot
Getty Images
The Burkinabé military has been under pressure as militant attacks increase

At least 10 soldiers have been killed by militants in northern Burkina Faso, the military has said.

Many others were wounded in the attack in Koutougou, in Soum province - which borders Mali - and other soldiers are reported missing.

"In reaction to this barbaric attack, a vast air and land search operation is seeking to neutralise the many assailants," the military statement said.

Islamist violence is increasing in Burkina Faso, with three key Islamist militant groups establishing a front in north and east.

Hundreds of people have been killed so far this year and more than 150,000 have fled their homes because of the attacks spreading across the Sahel region.

In December, a state of emergency was declared in several northern regions, granting security forces extra powers to search homes and restrict freedom of movement.

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GM mosquitoes released in Burkina Faso in malaria study

Anopheles Gambiae
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Genetically modified mosquitoes have been released in Burkina Faso as part of an anti-malaria campaign.

While some critics have raised concerns, the scientists involved said the release, which was the first of its kind in Africa, represented a very important milestone.

Burkina Faso's Research Institute of Health Sciences, a government sponsored institution, released male genetically modified mosquitoes in the south-western town of Bana.

It is part of a project funded by Target Malaria, a research consortium led by Imperial College in London.

While the release was approved by the country's biosafety agency, critics have raised concerns about the risks involved and questioned the validity of the project saying it is not expected to deliver any benefits for malaria control.

Target Malaria says the release itself is not intended to reduce the incidence of malaria but says it will enable them to collect important data to inform their research.

The Research Institute says the mosquito release conforms to all ethical and regulatory requirements and that it was approved by the community during consultations.

Malaria killed more than 4,000 people in Burkina Faso last year and affected more than 12,000.

In May, a separate study in Burkina Faso showed that a fungus - genetically enhanced to produce spider toxin - could rapidly kill huge numbers of the mosquitoes that spread malaria.

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Brother of ex-Burkinabe leader loses extradition appeal

Francois Compaoré is wanted for questioning over a journalist's murder

Louise Dewast

BBC Africa

Francois Compaoré
Francois Compaoré was detained at Charles de Gaulle airport in 2017

The brother of Burkina Faso’s ex-President Blaise Compaoré could be sent home from France to face questions over the murder of a prominent journalist, after a court in Paris approved his extradition on Tuesday.

Francois Compaoré was arrested in Paris in 2017, three years after his brother was forced from office.

He is wanted in connection with the killing of Norbert Zongo, whose body was found in a burned-out vehicle 21 years ago.

The murder of the journalist, who had been investigating the death of Francois Compaoré’s chauffeur at the time, prompted big protests in Burkina Faso.

A judge dismissed charges in 2006 against the only suspect.

A man holds a portrait of Norbert Zongo as thousands of people take part in a demonstration in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to mark the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Burkinabe investigative reporter Norbert Zongo - 13 December 2018
The case Norbert Zongo is an emotive subject in Burkina Faso

The case was reopened in 2014 and an international arrest warrant issued for Francois Compaoré.

His lawyer said that if the French government gave the go-ahead for his extradition, he would appeal the court decision at France's State Council.

The Zongo family has not yet reacted to this latest development.

Blaise Compaoré’s 27-year rule ended in October 2014 after a wave of popular protests.

Deadly attack on Catholic Church in Burkina Faso

BBC World Service

Statue of Virgin Mary
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Both Christians and Muslims believe Mary gave birth to Jesus

Four people have been killed at a Catholic church in the north of Burkina Faso - the latest in a series of attacks the government blames on Islamist militants.

A government minister told the BBC that eight armed men targeted the church in the town of Toulfé during Mass on Sunday.

Earlier this month gunmen killed four people taking part in a Catholic procession just days after a priest and and five parishioners were shot dead in a church in the northern town of Dablo.

Several jihadist groups have become increasingly active in Burkina Faso frequently attacking villages and towns in the east and the north of the country.

Nearly 400 people are reported to have been killed since 2015.

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