OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Six soldiers are dead and seven others are missing after their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in eastern Burkina Faso, authorities said.
The violence Tuesday came as authorities confirmed that 39 people had been killed over the weekend in an attack on a marketplace in the West African nation. Earlier reports had said more than 30 were thought to have died but details were unclear because communication had been cut in the town ahead of the attack.
In other violence, a nurse died Monday while traveling with three others on her way to her post in Kelbo. Gunmen on motorcycles attacked their vehicle, according to a statement from Col. Salfo Kabore, the governor of Sahel region.
Extremist attacks are dramatically escalating in Burkina Faso, with deaths rising from about 80 in 2016 to over 1,800 in 2019, according to the United Nations. Burkina Faso’s military has struggled to contain the violence despite training and aid from the French and U.S. militaries in recent years.
Burkina Faso’s defense ministry is trying to recruit 2,000 more soldiers, and parliament has approved the use of civilian volunteers in the fight against extremism, a move that has concerned human rights groups.
The Norwegian Refugee Council warned this week that as many as 900,000 people could be displaced in the country by April, up from current estimates of 560,000.