August 18, 2017 / 2:37 PM / 2 years ago

Roadside bomb kills 3 soldiers in northern Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - A roadside bomb in northern Burkina Faso on Thursday killed three soldiers and wounded two, the military said.

Security forces deploy to secure the area after an overnight raid on a restaurant in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso August 14, 2017. REUTERS/Hamany Daniex

They did not say who was behind it, but Islamist militants are waging a sporadic campaign to destabilise the region and the attack followed a shooting spree by suspected jihadists in a popular restaurant in the capital Ouagadougou on Sunday.

That killed 18 people, most of them foreign nationals.

Colonel Fofana Lamoussa, an officer of the national order, said Thursday’s attack involved a vehicle on patrol with a military detachment in Djibo that was hit by an improvised explosive device.

“This explosion caused the deaths of three soldiers and injuries of two,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Burkina Faso has increasingly been targeted by jihadists and a dozen soldiers were killed in December last year when unidentified gunmen attacked a military post, also near the border with Mali.

Thursday’s attack was reminiscent of a similar incident at a restaurant and hotel in Ouagadougou in January 2016 in which 30 people were killed for which Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility.

Islamists are more active in Burkina Faso’s northern neighbour Mali and Burkinabe authorities have been concerned for some time that the long desert border could become a transit point for militants.

Djibo is the epicentre of Burkina Faso’s homegrown Islamist movement Ansarul Islam, led by radical preacher Hamadoun Dicko.

Dicko fought alongside Malian Islamists when they attempted to take over Mali in 2012, until French forces intervened to push them back the following year. He was captured by Malian troops and later released.

His movement has been blamed for several low level attacks on security forces in the north, although analysts say there is no evidence Dicko has yet forged links with AQIM.

Reporting by Nadoun Coulibaly; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Toby Davis

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