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Burkina Faso: OHCHR calls for investigation into killings in Ouahigouya

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Burkina Faso

The UN Human Rights Office, is calling for a full and independent investigation into the latest horrific killing of civilians in Burkina Faso and for "those responsible to be held to account.”

At the bi-weekly news briefing today (25 April) in Geneva, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office made the following statement on Burkina Faso: Available information suggests that at least 150 civilians may have been killed, and many others injured. The armed men then proceeded to loot homes, shops, and mosques. Sources in the nearby town of Ouahigouya reported hearing gunshots at 7a.m. on 20 April, three hours after they had seen men in military fatigues on vehicles and motorcycles headed towards Karma".

The public prosecutor in the town of Ouahigouya announced on 23 April that 60 people were killed and an investigation into the attack was under way. This investigation the UNHCR urged "must be prompt, thorough, independent, and impartial and must result in credible prosecutions, if such gross violations are to end,” Shamdasani said. The killings come in the wake of an attack on a VDP- volunteer defence force,  base on 15 April in which – according to the provincial governor – eight soldiers and 32 VDPs were killed and more than 30 injured. 

Credible accounts indicate the attackers accused village residents of sheltering members of the Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslim group, an Islamic State group affiliate, and other non-state armed groups .This is one of several other reported attacks on civilians by the armed forces and VDPs in recent months. 

Burkina Faso is reeling from jihadist violence that swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015. The insurgency has claimed the lives of thousands and driven at least two million others to flee their homes.

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