OUAGADOUGOU – Seven members of the security forces were killed early Tuesday after their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in eastern Burkina Faso, security sources said.
The fatalities were gendarmes and troops who had been sent to the town of Pama as reinforcements after a police station there came under attack, they said.
“Seven members of the defense and security forces were killed and another six were wounded, two of whom are in a precarious condition,” a government statement said of the incident not far from Fada N’Gourma, the main town in the Eastern Region.
There were no casualties in the Pama attack, although the police station was set ablaze.
There were no immediate details about the roadside blast, but it bore the hallmark of attacks attributed to jihadis that have shaken the country’s east in recent months.
The Sahel state, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been battling Islamist violence since 2015, starting with cross-border incursions in the north.
The recent surge of attacks in the east is the result of pressure on jihadi insurgents in neighboring Mali and Niger, experts say.
On Aug. 11, four gendarmes and a civilian were killed when their vehicle struck a mine about 100 km (60 miles) from Fada N’Gourma, the main town in the Eastern Region administrative area.
A sixth person, also a gendarme, was killed later in a shootout with the assailants.
On June 17, a policeman was killed in the town of Comin-Yanga in a simultaneous attack on the local police and gendarmerie stations.
The security forces have carried out a wave of arrests, detaining hundreds of people in connection with the attacks.
Official figures released in April showed there had been 80 attacks in three years that killed 133 people, many of them state officials. Hundreds of schools and town halls have been closed.
The capital Ouagadougou, in the center of the country, has suffered three attacks in two years, leaving 60 dead.