United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has strongly condemned Friday’s attack on a mosque in northern Burkina Faso, in a statement released over the weekend.
Guterres expressed condolences to the families of the deceased and the nation, and promised the UN will continue to support efforts to bring peace and sustainable development to its people.
The attack during prayers at the mosque in Salmossi, near the border with Mali, was the latest in a series that has threatened to destabilize the country led by President Roch Marc Kaboré. At least fifteen people were killed when armed men opened fire.
“The lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the north of the country are disrupted by growing numbers of attacks, and insecurity,” the UN said. On Saturday, some 1,000 people protested in the capital of Ouagadougou, denouncing the violence, and the presence of French and other foreign military forces in the region.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said Friday that more than 500 people have died in 472 attacks since 2018. Nearly a half-million people are now displaced because of the fighting in Burkina Faso, which also is making its southern neighbors – Ghana, Togo and Benin among them – worry over the spread of extremist activity in the region. A six-month state of emergency, renewed in July, remains in force for 14 provinces in Burkina Faso.
During last week’s Security Council meeting on Africa, Guterres warned that the spread of terrorist networks is a growing threat across African borders as the climate crisis heightens violence linked to resource scarcity.
Image: UNOCHA file