Fourteen soldiers were killed and others were injured in an Islamic extremist attack in Burkina Faso, the government said.
A military convoy in Oudalan province was ambushed on Wednesday, government spokesman Remis Fulgance Dandjinou said.
Three severely injured people were evacuated by plane to the capital, Ouagadougou, and the military has been sent to the area to find the attackers, he said.
The same day, at least 20 gunmen were seen on motorbikes in the nearby town of Gorom Gorom, burning a bar and frightening civilians, Ousmane Amirou Dicko told The Associated Press by phone.
The jihadists were trying to show that “they are in charge of the place,” he said.
This was the second attack in Burkina Faso in less than a week. Last week, an attacker threw a flammable bottle into a mosque in Ouagadougou, injuring six people.
Analysts say the escalating violence is troubling, particularly with the country due to hold a presidential election on Nov. 22.
Extremist violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State is spreading across the West African nation.
More than 2,000 people have been killed this year, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.
Experts say the attack was likely carried out by the Islamic State group, which has faced recent setbacks in the Sahel region as a result of clashes with the al-Qaida-linked group known as JNIM.
The rival organizations had tolerated each other but began fighting this year, with the Islamic State being largely pushed out of the Sahel towards the east.
“Despite the assumption that [the Islamic State group] have been weakened by clashing regularly the past few months with [JNIM] and by being targeted specifically by French counterterrorism efforts, this attack shows the group remains a threat, at least to local forces,” according to Rida Lyammouri, an associate fellow at the Clingendael Institute in the Netherlands.
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