Ouagadougou – Suspected jihadists have killed 18 civilians in an attack in northern Burkina Faso, the governor of the Sahel region said.
"The defence and security forces brought back the body of the nurse to give it to her family in Yalgo and secure the area to allow the burial of other victims," Colonel Salfo Kabore said on Sunday.
Several similar attacks were carried out a week ago in the country's north, with one on January 25, leaving 39 civilians dead in the neighbouring province of Soum, northwest of Seno.
A security source told AFP that during the massacre, which took place in Lamdamol village in Seno province on Saturday, "the attackers, heavily armed and on motorbikes, literally executed the local inhabitants".
A local health official, speaking from the town of Dori in the north, said the chief nurse at the nearby village of Lamdamol was among the victims.
'Difficult to be everywhere at once'
"There is panic in the village and the surrounding area," the official added, saying local people were fleeing the area towards the centre-north of the country.
Another security source said that the attack had come as a reprisal after jihadists had told local people to leave the area a few days earlier.
The security forces worked day and night to make the zone safe, "but it is difficult to be everywhere at once", said the source.
Burkina Faso borders Mali to the northwest and Niger to the east, both countries that are struggling to contain a wave of lethal jihadist attacks.
Burkina Faso security forces, under-equipped and poorly trained, have not been able to counter the deadly raids in their territory, despite the help of foreign soldiers, notably French troops.
According to UN figures, the jihadist attacks in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso killed 4 000 people in 2019 and caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, forcing 600 000 to flee their homes.