More than a dozen killed in attacks in north Burkina Faso, says local source

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Gunmen killed at least 15 people in an overnight raid on several villages in northern Burkina Faso, an elected local official said Tuesday.

"Armed individuals carried out a murderous raid on Monday on villages and hamlets in the Seytenga area killing about 15 people," the official, who asked not to be named, told AFP from the nearby major Sahel town of Dori, close to Niger.

He said Yatakou village was the first to be attacked and "at least 10 people died" there while five more were killed at Sofokel.

Most of the dead were men, he added.

A security source confirmed a "series of attacks" and reported casualties but gave no figures.

Troops have been despatched to secure the area and supervise the removal of the bodies, the source said.

Local people said the bloodshed had led residents to flee the Seytenga villages for Dori, 40 kilometres (25 miles) away.

The attacks came after three European journalists -- two Spanish and one Irish -- died on Monday in an attack on an anti-poaching patrol in the east of the west African nation.

One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso is struggling with a ruthless insurgency by armed Islamists who swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

Jihadist groups -- some affiliated to Al-Qaeda and others to the Islamic State group -- have launched increasing numbers of attacks in the country.

More than 1,300 people have died and over a million have fled their homes.

(AFP)