A human rights NGO in Burkina Faso has accused the army of killing at least 25 civilians, including a woman and a baby, in the east of the country this week, according to a statement carried by AFP on Friday.
Neither the army nor the Burkinabe government reacted initially to these accusations. The east of Burkina Faso is one of the regions most affected by the violence of jihadist groups, fought by the army and its auxiliaries.
On Wednesday evening (1 February), "the Collective against Impunity and Stigmatisation of Communities (CISC) was seized by several relatives of victims" reporting "allegations of summary executions of civilians attributed to the Burkinabe Defence and Security Forces (FDS) in the localities of Piega, Sakoani and Kankangou", said a CISC statement received by AFP on Friday.
The executions took place as a convoy of "more than a hundred vehicles" left Wednesday for the Boungou gold mine, "escorted by dozens of 4x4 pick-up vehicles carrying several FDS in military uniforms", in these three localities along the National Road 4 (RN4), according to the CISC.
Twelve deaths (including three women and a baby) were reported in the village of Sakoani, about 125 km from Fada N'Gourma, the capital of the eastern region, seven (including four women) in the village of Piega, 60 km from Fada N'Gourma, and six in the hamlet of Kankangou in the territory of the village of Sampiéri, according to CISC.
Inhabitants of Sakoani contacted by AFP testified to the discovery of "eleven bodies" without life after the passage of the convoy.
"The death toll continues to rise as the information reaches us from the field," the ICSC said.
According to the NGO, the victims are described by witnesses as "unarmed civilians".
Demanding an end to these "crimes against humanity", the CISC says it is continuing to "collect information in order to bring all those responsible and their sponsors to justice" and has called for "an independent and impartial judicial enquiry into these crimes".
Other cases of extrajudicial executions are regularly reported by the population in several regions of Burkina, the CISC said.
On New Year's Eve, civilian army auxiliaries were accused of killing 28 people in northwestern Burkina.
Burkina Faso has faced increasing attacks by jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State since 2015.
They have left thousands dead and at least two million displaced and were partly responsible for two military coups in 2022.