The military junta in Burkina Faso has launched an investigation into an attack that saw at least 28 people killed over the weekend. Attacks targeting the security forces and civilians have increased in recent months, especially in northern and eastern regions bordering Mali and Niger, countries also battling a jihadist insurgency.
In a statement released by the authorities late Monday, "The [Burkinabé] government was informed of an incident at Nouna... during the night of December 30th to 31st."
Preliminary reports "indicate 28 people killed," it said, adding that an investigation had been opened and urging calm.
The government in Ouagadougou says it remains "fundamentally opposed to any form of abuse or human rights violations on any grounds".
A statement from the prosecutor at the Nouna high court, Armel Sama, said that "most of the victims – all male – were shot dead".
VDP auxiliary force in the spotlight
Meanwhile, the civil society Collective of Communities against Impunity and Stigmatisation (CISC) has denounced the violence as "reprisals targeting civilians" by armed civilians claiming to be members of the Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland – or VDP auxiliary force – who "freely engage in organised looting and targeted abuses of civilian population."
One of the world's poorest countries, Burkina Faso has already seen two coups by disgruntled army officers last year that have put the military in power.
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