A minimum of 10 troopers have been killed and 6 wounded in an assault on an Ivory Coast navy put up close to the nation’s border with Burkina Faso, in accordance with the military.
It was not but clear who carried out the predawn assault on Thursday, which was the deadliest in Ivory Coast since gunmen from al-Qaeda’s North African department stormed the seashore resort of Grand Bassam in March 2016, killing 19 folks.
The top of the armed forces, Lassina Doumbia, stated in an announcement that 10 troopers have been killed and 6 wounded. He added that one of many attackers was additionally killed.
Earlier, a senior officer on the military chief of workers’s workplace stated 12 troopers had been killed and 7 wounded, and added that two different navy gendarmes have been reported lacking.
The fighters have been believed to have come from Burkina Faso, with which the Ivory Coast shares a 550km (340-mile) border.
A resident of the Ivorian city of Kafolo advised AFP information company he heard “the sounds of rifles towards the river” throughout the assault.
“We’re hiding within the homes with our households. The navy has forbidden us to exit. The whole lot is closed.”
Fears over unfold of Sahel violence
A 2012 separatist motion in Mali sparked a “fireball of conflict” within the semi-arid Sahel area in north-central Africa, with violence by numerous armed teams, together with a number of al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) offshoots, spreading throughout the borders of Niger and Burkina Faso lately.
All three nations have seen a dramatic rise in assaults and displacement, with the scenario additional stoked by intercommunal violence met with the deployment of nationwide, regional and worldwide forces and native militias.
About 4,000 folks have been killed in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in 2019 with hundreds displaced, in accordance with the United Nations.
Safety analysts have lengthy apprehensive the escalating violence within the Sahel would unfold into the coastal states on the Gulf of Guinea, with fighters utilizing Burkina Faso as a launching level to assault neighbours Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo and Ghana.
However whereas a number of assaults have taken place close to the border of the Ivory Coast on the Burkina Faso aspect, the violence had not lately crossed into the Ivorian aspect. Benin, Togo and Ghana had additionally but to be attacked by fighters from Burkina Faso, in accordance with Worldwide Disaster Group (ICG).
Whereas the Gulf of Guinea nations are usually wealthier than their northern neighbours, ICG has warned that also they are ripe to be exploited by armed teams and sometimes lack coordination.
“They are tormented by the identical underdevelopment of peripheries distant from the seat of energy, common disenchantment with absent or brutal state authorities, and shortcomings in intelligence and safety companies,” it stated in a 2019 report.
In response to the northern risk, the Financial Neighborhood of West African States (ECOWAS) has lobbied for large-scale navy operations within the space.
Thursday’s assault passed off in the identical zone the place Ouagadougou and Yamoussoukro final month launched a ground-breaking joint operation to flush out fighters.
So-called “Operation Comoe”, named after a river that flows by the 2 nations, has led to the loss of life of eight fighters, the seize of 38 others and the destruction of a “terrorist base” at Alidougou in Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast military stated on Could 24.
Al Jazeera and information businesses