Soldiers from Burkina Faso patrol. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo

At least 12 soldiers and four paramilitary fighters were killed and 21 wounded in an attack on an army base in Burkina Faso’s insurgent-hit centre-north on Friday, the army said in a statement.

The attack took place early in the morning at Burkina Faso’s Namissiguima military base in the province of Sanmatenga.

The death toll was provisional and reinforcements were sent to secure the area, the statement added without providing detail on the assailants.

The West African nation is battling a jihadist insurgency that has spread from neighbouring Mali over the past decade, with groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State staging deadly raids and gaining ground in both Burkina Faso and the countries’ other neighbour Niger.

The violence has already killed thousands of people and forced more than 2 million to flee their homes in the Sahel region despite the presence of foreign troops and United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Frustration over the government’s inability to protect citizens has spurred protests in Burkina Faso that culminated in a military coup in January. read more

It was the fourth coup to rock West Africa in 18 months after two in Mali and one in Guinea.

Turmoil in the Sahel started when militants took over Mali’s desert north in 2012, prompting former colonial power France to intervene the following year in an attempt to push them back.

Source: Reuters

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