Burkina Faso army massacred 223 villagers in revenge attack

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According to Human Rights Watch, more than 220 civilians, including 56 children, were killed by Burkina Faso’s military in just one day this year. This happened during attacks on two villages, Soro and Nondin, on February 25th. HRW says these mass killings are some of the worst incidents of abuse by the army in Burkina Faso in almost ten years.

The army hasn’t responded to the report yet. However, the public prosecutor has asked for witnesses to come forward to help identify the group responsible for the killings. Initially, the prosecutor said 170 people had died.

Survivors of the attack told HRW that the military arrived in Nondin shortly after Islamist fighters passed through the area. The soldiers forced people out of their homes and then gathered them together before shooting them. An hour later, they did the same thing in Soro village.

The soldiers also shot at anyone who tried to hide or run away. The military believes the villagers were helping the Islamist fighters, which is why they attacked them. The mass killings came after an attack by Islamist fighters on a military camp nearby.

According to a survivor, the soldiers accused the villagers of not helping them by informing them about the movements of the Islamist fighters before they started shooting.

Human Rights Watch says these killings are part of a pattern of civilian deaths caused by the Burkina Faso military during their fight against insurgency. The country is currently ruled by a military junta, which took power in a coup in 2022, promising to end the violence. However, the situation has only gotten worse, with jihadist groups controlling a large part of Burkina Faso.

The international community, including the European Union and the United Nations, has criticized Burkina Faso for serious human rights violations, including killing civilians indiscriminately and making people disappear. These actions have raised concerns about the country’s approach to fighting insurgency.

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