At least 43 people have been killed in attacks in northern Burkina Faso, the government says, in what local sources describe as apparent vigilante reprisals for militant violence.
The attackers targeted at least two villages in the North region, near the border with Mali.
Militant groups with links to al-Qaeda and Daesh, and ethnic militias, have repeatedly targeted civilians in the area, part of spiraling violence in Burkina and its neighbors Mali and Niger.
“On Sunday, attacks were carried out on the villages of Dinguila and Barga … in Yatenga province. The provisional toll is 43 victims,” the government said in a statement o Monday.
No claim was immediately made for the attack.
According to local sources, Fulani people make up the bulk of the population of the villages.
Burkina Faso has battled against a militant insurgency since 2015, but the conflict has also provoked attacks on Fulani herders who other communities accuse of supporting militants.
Tit-for-tat reprisal killings between the Fulani and rival farming communities have surged over the past year, compounding the destruction wrought by the militants.
A year ago, armed militia attacked the village of Yirgou and killed six people, including the village chief, triggering a wave of violence between rival communities.
Two attacks in northern Burkina Faso in January killed 36 and 39 people, respectively.
The violence has forced more than half a million from their homes and made much of the north ungovernable.
Burkina Faso is in the center of the Sahel region where a militant insurgency has spread from Mali.
Attacks in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso killed at least 4,000 people in 2019, according to the United Nations.