According to the mayor of a village in northern Burkina Faso, armed gunmen killed at least eight civilians who were fetching water.
The tragedy, which occurred early Monday morning, brought the total number of people slain in the restive area to more than 30 in three days of unrest.
The incident occurred in Arbinda, in the province of Soum, which has been the target of multiple fatal incursions by armed factions affiliated to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) that have been vying for control of a stretch of parched land between Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger for years.
According to Mayor Boureima Werem, gunmen have begun targeting water towers and pumps in recent weeks, which appears to be a new approach.
At least 15 people were murdered in separate events in northern Burkina Faso on Sunday, including 13 military police officers, according to the military police, and nine people were slain in an assault on an informal gold mine in the province of Oudalan on Saturday, according to a security source.
In the Sahel area south of the Sahara Desert, a campaign of violence has already killed thousands of people and driven more than 2 million others to abandon their homes.
Despite the deployment of thousands of foreign troops, killings have continued, weakening trust in the region’s democratic governments.
Protests in Burkina Faso erupted in January as a result of frustration with the lack of government control.
In August 2020, troops in Mali gained power.
Fighting broke out in Mali’s desert north in 2012, forcing France to intervene the following year in an attempt to force the jihadists back.
However, in recent years, the fighters have regrouped and seized territory. In June of this year, 19 people were killed in an incident in Arbinda.