French army announces killing of 60 jihadists in Burkina Faso

The French Army's General Staff announced on Sunday that sixty jihadists were killed in northern Burkina Faso in an operation led by Burkina Faso forces with the support of French units affiliated with Operation Barkhane.

"For four times, between January 16 and 23, 2022, Burkina Faso forces and Barkhane units located and neutralized different groups of terrorists," the General Staff said, noting that "a total of sixty terrorists were killed."

Twenty motorcycles and several armed pickup trucks were also destroyed in these operations, which were accompanied by “air strikes by the Barkhane force under the direction of units from Burkina Faso,” the General Staff of the armies explained in a statement.

The French General Staff commented, "The goal was to search for terrorists in their areas of refuge," before adding that "the results are very good."

"We continue to fight against terrorists in coordination with our partners, the armed forces of Burkina Faso, which carried out these operations with a very positive result," he added.

The army said that the Burkina Faso forces will be able to "return" to the "transit and asylum areas" of the jihadist groups, which "they have not been conducting operations for a long time."

These military successes came ahead of the January 24 military coup in which President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was placed under house arrest and other officials were arrested.

On Thursday evening, in his first speech since taking power on Monday, Burkina Faso's new strongman, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, declared on national television that his country needed "its partners more than ever".

He said he understood the "legitimate doubts" raised by the coup, stressing that Burkina "(will) continue to respect international obligations, especially with regard to respect for human rights," explaining that the independence of the judiciary would also be "guaranteed."

Residents have been criticizing Roch Marc Christian Kabore for not being able to stem the security deterioration since 2015, particularly in the north and east of the country.

Like Mali and Niger, Burkina Faso has plunged into a cycle of violence attributed to armed jihadist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, which has killed more than 2,000 people and forced at least 1.5 million people to flee their homes.

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