Security Forces Accused of Massacre in Burkina Faso Village

In a shocking incident that has raised serious concerns about the conduct of Burkina Faso’s security forces, a survivor has come forward with firsthand accounts and photographic evidence of a massacre that took place in Zaongo village on November 5. The survivor, a 32-year-old farmer who wishes to remain anonymous, captured images of the horrifying scenes, including women and children brutally slain. The attack, allegedly carried out by security forces, resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen relatives, according to the survivor and two other witnesses, as well as a U.N. report citing government figures.

Burkina Faso has been grappling with a growing jihadi insurgency for the past nine years, resulting in the deaths of over 20,000 people. However, the recent increase in civilian killings by the security forces has raised serious concerns about their actions under the guise of counterterrorism. The government, which has previously denied killing civilians and accused jihadis of disguising themselves as soldiers, has not responded to requests for comment regarding the November 5 attack.

The survivor and two other witnesses assert that the attackers were indeed security forces, as they were seen wearing military uniforms, with one even sporting a Burkina Faso flag. The survivor also noted the presence of a military helicopter, which is exclusively used by the military and not insurgents. The United Nations has called on the government to investigate the incident, hold those responsible accountable, and provide compensation to the victims. Burkina Faso’s prosecutor’s office has confirmed that an investigation has been opened, but survivors claim they have received no updates four months later.

The attack on Zaongo village is indicative of the deepening divide within Burkina Faso’s population, as the junta struggles to combat the jihadi insurgency. Since seizing power in September 2022, the junta has been accused of carrying out attacks against civilians and silencing dissent. It has distanced itself from regional and Western nations, severed military ties with France, and welcomed Russian mercenaries to bolster its position. The United States has suspended military assistance to Burkina Faso but continues to provide nonlethal equipment to civilian security forces.

Survivors of the Zaongo massacre recount the terrifying moments when men in military uniforms, speaking French and the local language Moore, ordered people out of their houses before indiscriminately killing them. The survivors firmly believe that the attackers were security forces, as they resembled soldiers who often inspect people’s documents. The junta’s strategy of recruiting volunteers to fight alongside the military has contributed to civilian killings, as volunteers round up individuals suspected of extremist ties, provoking retaliatory attacks from jihadis.

The aftermath of the attack has left Zaongo village in a state of fear and despair. More than 2 million people have been displaced, and tens of thousands face severe hunger. Survivors fear that the bodies of their loved ones still lie unburied, as the village is now occupied by jihadis. The exact number of casualties remains uncertain, with reports varying from 70 to over 200. Displaced survivors are calling on the government to hold the perpetrators accountable, as they live in constant fear for their lives.

Author: CrimeDoor

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