Gunmen have attacked a security post in northern Ivory Coast near the border with Burkina Faso, killing at least 10 soldiers and injuring six others, Ivory Coast’s army chief said Thursday.
It was the first major jihadist attack in the West African nation since 2016, when al-Qaeda’s North African branch killed at least 19 people at the Grand-Bassam beach resort area.
Thursday’s early morning assault targeted an army and gendarmerie post in Kafolo in Sikolo prefecture, according to a statement by Armed Forces Chief Lassina Doumbia.
President Alassane Ouattara said investigations are underway to determine “the nature, circumstances and definitive toll of this attack,” the statement said. “In the interim, urgent measures are being taken,” including putting all troops on high alert and sweeping the region to find the attackers.
In May, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso launched joint operations along the border region. Fighters affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have staged a growing number of attacks and gained more territory in the past year in Burkina Faso, displacing more than 750,000 people in that country’s north.
There have been growing concerns over the possible presence of Islamic militants in Ivory Coast.