8 jihadists killed in Ivorian-Burkinabe operation: ICoast army

 (Michele Cattani/AFP)
(Michele Cattani/AFP)

Eight suspected jihadists were killed and another 38 captured in a joint operation by Burkinabe and Ivorian forces near the two countries' shared border, the Ivory Coast army said on Sunday.

The captured men - 24 in Burkina Faso and 14 in Ivory Coast - were handed over to intelligence services, a source at Ivorian army headquarters told AFP.

A "terrorist base" was destroyed at Alidougou in Burkina Faso, the source added.

The operation also seized arms, ammunition, USB keys and cell phones, the source said.

Operation "Comoe", named after a river that flows through the two countries, was launched in early May, the source said, praising the "perfect coordination between the two armies".

This joint operation, presented on Saturday by the two armies' top commanders as the first of its kind, took place northeast of the Ivorian town of Ferkessedougou and south of Banfora in Burkina Faso.

On Saturday, a Burkinabe security source said the entire operation had been carried out in Ivory Coast.

But local people told an AFP journalist that the fighting took place around the villages of Tinadalla and Diambeh north of Kong in the northeast of Ivory Coast. They spoke of a considerable military presence there.

One villager from Tindalla said suspicious men had been in the zone for more than a month, coming and going across the border with Burkina Faso.

The Ivorian army source said Sunday that "no terrorist base exists on Ivorian territory which may have served as a zone of refuge during previous offensives" by the Burkinabe army.

A Burkina Faso military source told AFP that a Burkinabe soldier had been wounded and hospitalised in Korhogo, in northern Ivory Coast.

The presence of Islamist fighters to the north of Ivory Coast's Comoe national park was detected more than a year ago.

Security sources say they are jihadists operating in Burkina Faso who shelter in Ivory Coast.

Jihadist violence in Burkina Faso has claimed nearly 900 lives since 2015.

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