Burkina Faso's transitional president, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, called on Thursday to avoid "hasty conclusions" accusing the army of being responsible for the massacre in Karma, in the north of the country, committed on April 20 by men in military uniforms.
"Why to accuse (the army) directly because it is said that they (the attackers) came with pickups and army uniforms?", he raised during an interview on Burkinabè public television, recalling that "the army has lost armored vehicles, pickups" during the numerous attacks committed by jihadists in the country.
"Knowing this, we cannot immediately accuse the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) (...) We are waiting for the investigators to do their job and for people to avoid drawing hasty conclusions", he said. for follow-up. The Ouahigouya prosecutor has opened an investigation.
On April 20, 136 people including 50 women and 21 children were killed in Karma, a village 15 km from Ouahigouya, according to official reports. Survivors and witnesses said the massacre was committed "by people wearing the uniforms of our national armed forces".
During the television interview, Captain Traoré - who came to power by a coup in September - also denounced the actions of a "coalition against Burkina Faso", engaged in the fight against jihadist violence.
“Many of these countries have categorically refused to sell us equipment,” he said. More than three months after asking for the departure of the French army, the president claimed to have turned to "strategic allies" such as Russia and Turkey.
"We will continue to acquire major means with these countries (and) we will cooperate with those who wish to help us in this war against the jihadists", he assured, also welcoming cooperation with North Korea for the acquisition of military equipment.
The president said in a televised address on Thursday that he wanted to organize elections "as soon as possible", in June 2024.
Burkina Faso, the scene of two military coups in 2022, has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of jihadist violence that appeared in Mali and Niger a few years earlier and which has spread beyond their borders.
According to NGOs, the violence has claimed more than 10,000 lives over the past eight years - civilians and soldiers - and some two million internally displaced persons.