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Burkina Faso: Over 600 seek refuge in Togo, fleeing jihadist attacks

Burkina Faso: Over 600 seek refuge in Togo, fleeing jihadist attacks
FILE - In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, women carry tarpaulin sheets issued...   -  
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Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/AP

Burkina Faso

More than 600 Burkinabe have taken refuge in northern Togo in recent days, fleeing jihadist attacks in southeastern Burkina Faso, the National Agency for Civil Protection (ANPC) of Togo told AFP on Wednesday

A total of 602 Burkinabe refugees from Madjoari, in southeastern Burkina Faso, have been counted in the prefecture of Tône, in the far north of Togo, police commissioner Aboudou Kerim Nimon, head of the ANPC branch in Dapaong (capital of Tône) said.

"They have fled their localities, leaving everything behind. There are children and pregnant women," he said.

"These refugees are all being taken in by host families," the source said, adding that food and financial aid had been distributed to them.

Among these refugees is the former mayor of Madjoari.

The town, located more than a hundred kilometres from the border with Togo, has between 15,000 and 20,000 inhabitants and is under blockade by the jihadists who have been attacking eastern Burkina Faso.

The army sometimes manages to get supply convoys there. However, in the absence of this support, desperate and destitute inhabitants try to flee.

On 25 May last, some 50 inhabitants of this locality who were trying to flee were killed by jihadists, according to the authorities.

This followed several recent attacks in Madjoari against soldiers and civilians.

Burkina Faso, especially the north and east, has been hit by al-Qaeda and Islamic State-affiliated movements for seven years, killing more than 2,000 civilians and soldiers and displacing nearly two million.

In addition to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have been plagued by jihadist insurgencies and neighbouring states such as Benin, Ghana, Togo and Côte d'Ivoire are concerned about spillover into their territories.

The Togolese government on Monday declared a "state of security emergency" in the Savannah region, an area in the far north of the country that recently witnessed the first two jihadist attacks.

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