Two human rights organizations denounced the “summary and extrajudicial executions” of “more than 40″ people” perpetrated in early August in Tougouri, in northern Burkina Faso, implicating, according to them, the Burkinabe armed forces, in two press releases published on Sunday.
“The collective against impunity and the stigmatization of communities (CISC) has been seized since Monday, August 08 by several witnesses and relatives of victims of the commune of Tougouri, more precisely in the village of Taffogo in the Center-North region , of several cases of kidnappings followed by summary and extrajudicial executions”, indicates this human rights organization in a press release.
“In total, more than 40 bodies were found later along the Taffogo – Bouroum road”, according to the CISC, adding that “those people killed had all their hands tied and blindfolded”.
According to the organization, concordant testimonies describe “the presumed perpetrators of these kidnappings followed by systematic executions as being elements of the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) dressed in black uniforms and hooded”.
Estimating, for its part, “more than fifty unarmed civilians” who “were kidnapped in Tougouri and summarily executed on the road to Bouroum by the FDS”, the Observatory of Human Dignity (ODH) has ” condemned with the utmost energy these barbaric acts unworthy of our time”.
According to the ODH, citing local sources, “almost all of the victims are Fulani, including women and children. Some victims were arrested at the Tougouri market and others at home”.
“The authorities are strongly challenged on the resurgence of these iniquitous, barbaric practices, unworthy of a republican army and which have contributed to plunging Burkina Faso into this situation” of security crisis, indicated this organization.
The collective invited “certain elements of the FDS to stop the practice of kidnapping civilians with their bare hands followed by summary and extrajudicial executions under the fallacious pretext of the fight against terrorism” and called on the Head of State to “reframe the action of these soldiers who sum up the fight against terrorism to a simple extermination of the villages occupied by a specific community”.
Regularly accused of extrajudicial executions, the Burkinabè army has always denied this, sometimes pointing to armed groups that use military equipment.
Other NGOs including Human Rights Watch (HRW) had already accused the Burkinabe security forces in 2020 of “extrajudicial executions”, during anti-terrorist operations, after the discovery of “mass graves containing at least 180 bodies” in Djibo , capital of the province of Soum, one of the most affected by jihadist attacks.
This violence has killed several thousand people in the country since 2015, and forced nearly two million people to flee their homes.