Burkina Faso imposes curfews to help 'fight against terrorism'

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  • Burkina Faso declared a curfew to deal with jihadists two regions.
  • The curfew is from 22:00 to 05:00.
  • So far, 51 people died in an ambush on 17 February.

Burkina Faso has put the North and parts of the Centre East region under curfew to aid the fight against jihadists, according to official documents seen by AFP on Sunday.

The long-running insurgency in the impoverished Sahel nation has left thousands of civilians, police and soldiers dead and forced more than two million people to flee their homes.

"In the framework of the fight against terrorism, a curfew is established from 22:00 to 05:00 across all the regional territory from Friday March 3 to Friday 31 March," said a note from the secretary general of the governorate for the North, Kouilga Albert Zongo.

The curfews ban the movement overnight of people and the use of two and four-wheeled vehicles.

Zongo said the curfew would help the army in the region bordering Mali, from where the insurgency swept in back in 2015.

READ | 10 civilians killed in Burkina Faso after bus hits landmine

A curfew was also set up for March over Koulpelogo province, under an administrative communiqué from the high commission in the area close to Ghana and Togo, as well as the central-northern Bam region.

In mid-February, an overnight curfew set up in 2019 in the East region was extended for three months to 21 May.

Jihadist assaults have increased this year, leaving dozens of civilians and members of the security forces dead every week.

The army announced a provisional death toll of 51 in a 17 February ambush in the far north for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

It was the deadliest attack in Burkina since army captain Ibrahim Traore seized power in a coup late last September.

Around 40% of the nation's territory lies outside government control.

Anger within the Burkinabe military at failures to roll back the insurgency led to two coups last year.

Adding to the regional instability was the setting ablaze at the weekend of a police border post on the Niger side of the border.

Local sources reported on Sunday that unidentified "heavily armed men" on motorbikes attacked the station on Saturday at Makalondi, several kilometres behind the Burkinabe border, with police saying one civilian sustained gunshot wounds.

A local official told AFP there had been substantial material damage.

The station had previously been targeted in December 2021 in an attack by presumed jihadists which left six people dead.

Makalondi is in the tri-border zone near the frontiers with Burkina Faso and Mali and prone to attacks from armed jihadist groups - notably the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS).

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