Thirty-three civilians were killed on Thursday in an attack allegedly carried out by jihadists in western Burkina Faso, the governor announced on Saturday in Boukl district of Mouhun province.

“On the evening of Thursday, May 11, around 5:00 p.m [σ.σ. τοπική ώρα· 20:00 ώρα Ελλάδας]the village of Yulu, in Cheriba District, Muhun Province, was subjected to a brazen and barbaric attack by terrorists,” said the official, Babo Pierre Bashiga.

“Armed men targeted peaceful citizens” who were engaged in agricultural work along the river bank, Mr. Bashiga continued, clarifying that the still “provisional” number of victims “states 33 dead”.

Sources in the area confirmed the attack by unknown, “heavily armed” men moving “on motorcycles”, who opened fire on fruit and vegetable growers “indiscriminately”, clarifying that the victims were buried the day before yesterday Friday.

Residents of Cheriba also spoke of at least three gunshot wounds. They also talked about setting fire to fields and food warehouses before the perpetrators of the massacre left.

According to Governor Bashiga, “operations are underway to restore security” in the area.

The official demanded that residents “redouble their vigilance” and “continue to cooperate with the forces fighting for the total victory over terrorism and the definitive return of peace and security to the region.”

Burkina Faso, which became the scene of two military coups in 2022, has been facing since 2015 the escalating violence of jihadist groups that emerged in Mali and Niger a few years earlier, before their activities spread.

The violence of these organizations, which pledge allegiance to either Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State, has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people – civilians and soldiers – in total, according to NGOs, while uprooting some two and a half million civilians, who they became internally displaced.

The state of emergency imposed in March in eight of the country’s thirteen regions was extended on Friday for another six months by the transitional parliament.

In mid-April, Burkina Faso’s transitional authorities declared “general mobilization” in order to “give the state all the necessary means” to deal with jihadist activity.