Burkina Faso said 39 people were killed in an attack by extremists on the northern village of Silgadji that appears to mark a shift from raids on mainly military targets to the execution of civilians.
Security forces are helping residents to bury the victims after the “cowardly and barbaric” attack, in Soum province, the government said in a statement. The death toll is the highest of any attack in the West African nation this year.
Burkina Faso has recorded a surge of militant violence near its borders since 2016, following the path of its neighbour Mali, which has failed to push out al-Qaeda affiliated fighters since 2012 despite a huge United Nations peacekeeping operation. While gunmen on motorbikes in Burkina Faso initially targeted teachers and military convoys, details about the attack indicate a new modus operandi.