Burkina Faso's army ruler Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba traveled to Seytenga, a town in his country's north where insurgents killed scores of people over the weekend.
For a commander who once blamed politicians for not supporting the army's fight against militants, this was an uncomfortable visit to make.
Distraught survivors waited along the road as Damiba came to make an address.
"We have come to express first our sorrow, then our compassion for the people of Seytenga," he said.
Villagers who fled Seytenga accused the army of abandoning the town as the insurgents attacked. Over a period of hours on Saturday evening, armed men moved unhampered through the village of Seytenga, shooting, burning, and looting, they said.
To justify his January coup, Sandaogo said the political class in Ougadougou had not given security forces resources and to confront Islamist militants in the north and east.
The massacre in Seytenga is the second-worst in the history of Burkina's insurgency, which started in 2015 when militants launched cross-border raids from Mali.
Violence has uprooted nearly two million people from their homes.