At least three gendarmes and five civilian auxiliaries engaged in the anti-jihadist fight were killed Monday evening in an attack on mixed units in eastern Burkina Faso, AFP learned from security and civilian sources on Tuesday.
“Mixed units of gendarmes and volunteers for the defense of the homeland suffered an attack in Tanwalbougou, in the province of Gourma. The provisional toll shows three gendarmes and five volunteers dead,” according to a security source.
“Another gendarme and a seriously injured volunteer were taken care of at the regional hospital of Fada N’Gourma,” she added.
This attack was confirmed by a local official of the civilian auxiliaries who specified that it “was carried out by several dozen men aboard motorcycles who mainly targeted a patrol team at the eastern exit of Tanwalbougou”.
This attack follows “following an ambush perpetrated on Sunday which was repulsed“ by the defense forces carrying out ”security operations after the massive arrival of several hundred people in Fada N’Gourma (capital of the region and of the province), following threats from armed groups, ”according to this local official.
On March 28, three people were killed in Tanwalbougou, a commune located about fifty kilometers from Fada N’Gourma and whose gendarmerie brigade has been the target of six attacks since 2019.
Created in December 2019, the Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland (VDP), are civilian auxiliaries who intervene alongside the armed forces for surveillance, information and protection missions after a 14-day military training.
They also act as trackers and often fight alongside the army, paying a heavy price with more than 200 dead in their ranks, according to an AFP count.
On April 1, six of them were killed in an ambush in northern Burkina Faso. On March 21, two volunteers were killed in two attacks, two weeks after the death of five others in an ambush against a military detachment, still in the north of the country.
Burkina Faso, bordering Mali and Niger in the grip of jihadist attacks, has also been a regular victim since 2015.
First concentrated in the north of the country, bordering Mali, the abuses attributed to jihadist groups, including the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in the greater Sahara. (EIGS), then targeted the capital and other regions, especially the east and north-west, killing more than 1,200 people and displacing more than a million since 2015, fleeing areas of violence.