At least 44 people killed by jihadis in Burkina Faso’s north

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) – At least 44 people were killed by Islamic extremists in multiple attacks in northern Burkina Faso, the government said Saturday.

Jihadis attacked Kourakou and Tondobi villages in Seno province, said Lt. Col. P.F Rodolphe Sorgho, governor of the Sahel region in a statement. Sorgho called the attacks on Thursday and Friday “despicable and barbaric” and said the government was stabilizing the area. He called on people to remain calm.

The West African nation has been overrun by jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group that’s killed thousands and displaced 2 million people over six years. Fighting has frustrated and divided a once peaceful population, leading to two military coups last year with each junta leader vowing to stem the attacks.

But the violence is intensifying and spreading as jihadis blockade villages, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from moving freely.

In February, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for killing more than 70 soldiers, wounding dozens and taking five hostage, in an ambush on a military convoy in the north. A few weeks before that, jihadis killed at least 32 people, including soldiers and civilians, in multiple attacks across the country.

The violence has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the country’s history, forcing one in five citizens -some 4.7 million people – to be in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations.

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