Burkina Faso attacks kill three soldiers in north: security sources

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Three soldiers were killed on Thursday in two simultaneous attacks in northern Burkina Faso, where the armed forces are struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency, security sources said.

The attacks are part of increasing jihadist violence in the West African country, where 700 people have been killed in the nearly five years since fighting spilled across the border from Mali, according to an AFP count.

"Early this morning, an armed group attacked a military unit in Kelbo. Two soldiers were killed during this attack," a security source told AFP.

"Almost at the same time, a separate armed group attacked a unit in Namissiguima. Another soldier was killed there."

Militants took away motorbikes and a pickup truck during the attacks, another security source said confirming the two incidents.

Attacks in Burkina Faso, which borders Mali and Niger, have targeted mostly the north and east of the country, though the capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times.

Most of the violence is attributed to jihadists affiliated with al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group, with around 500,000 people internally displaced by attacks, according to the UN.

Attacks have intensified this year as the underequipped, poorly trained Burkina Faso army struggles to contain the Islamist militancy.

An ambush on a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company killed 37 people earlier this month, the deadliest attack in nearly five years of jihadist violence.

Security forces also said this month they had killed more than 50 jihadists in a series of operations.

Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian called for a "general mobilisation against terrorism" and announced plans for voluntary recruitment for the armed forces in vulnerable regions.

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