Armed groups have displaced some 17,500 people in Burkina Faso in recent days, according to the UNHCR, in an attempt to cause ‘fighting’.
More than 17,500 people in Burkina Faso have been violently displaced from their homes in the past 10 days due to a series of attacks of unknown armed groups that killed 45 people, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said.
Attacks by armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State in the West Africa Sahel region have risen sharply since the beginning of the year, particularly in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, with violence against civilians.
A UNHCR statement on Friday said the gunmen carried out a series of attacks in three different regions, setting houses on fire and shooting at civilians. The attackers also looted health centers and destroyed houses and shops.
“Obviously one of the reasons is the cause of the destruction and suffering of civilians,” UNHCR spokesman Boris Cheshirkov said in a speech in Geneva.
The security situation in the Sahel region is driving a fastest growing migration crisis in the world, he said.
Security sources told the Reuters news agency on Monday that armed attackers had killed nearly 30 people in an attack on a village in eastern Burkina Faso.
Last week, two Spanish journalists and an Irish citizen were killed in ambush of suspected rebels on an anti-poaching patrol near an nature reserve in eastern Burkina Faso.
“The trends we’ve seen are just focusing on a lot of violence to come,” Cheshirkov said.
The unarmed army in Burkina Faso is struggling to curb the spread of violence.
Last year the government enlisted the help of volunteer militiamen to help the army but they retaliated against the rebels who attacked them and the communities they helped.
Armed groups are pushing religious and ethnic tensions between farming and farming communities in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger to increase recruitment in isolated communities.
The escalating violence in the wider Sahel region is the cause of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, UN agencies said last week.
Violence in Burkina Faso has displaced more than 1.14 million people in more than two years, while the poor arid country also hosts nearly 20,000 refugees from neighboring Mali seeking to be safe from violence.