At least eight soldiers were killed and three wounded when their unit was ambushed in northern Burkina Faso on Friday, the army said on Monday, the latest incident reported in the area that has become a hotbed for jihadist activity.
The attack occurred two days before France officially marked the end of its military operations in the West African nation, where in 2015 some 400 French special forces had been sent to help fight an insurgency that spread from neighboring Mali.
The soldiers were attacked in Oudalan province, in Burkina Faso’s Sahel region, which shares a border with Mali.
Eight bodies have been found so far and several soldiers are still missing, the army said in a statement, adding that three wounded soldiers were evacuated from the scene.
They did not directly blame anyone for the attack but said around 60 “terrorists” were killed in a counter-offensive airstrike in targeting “enemies” that were moving towards the border.
Burkina Faso is one of several West African countries who have found themselves grappling with jihadist insurgency.
Violence has spread to neighboring countries despite costly international military interventions and United Nations peacekeeping efforts. Thousands have been killed and millions displaced.
Frustrations over the lack of safety have spurred two coups in Mali and two in Burkina Faso since 2020, placing power in the hands of juntas – that have been burning bridges with traditional Western allies.