8 Volunteers killed in fresh Burkina Faso attack, says security sources

8 Volunteers killed in fresh Burkina Faso attack, says security sources
Charles Nwoke, Gorgadji, Burkina Faso
April 15, 2021 

Burkina Faso security sources say, no fewer than 8 civilian members of an auxiliary troop in the country’s anti-jihadist campaign died in an ambush on Wednesday in the north and others were still missing.

A security source told AFP that “a patrol of the VDP (Volunteers for the Defense of the Motherland) fell into an ambush in the Gorgadji area.”

“There are at least eight dead among the volunteers and others still missing.”

An official in the locality, confirmed the ambush, saying, “We have sustained losses during an attack.”

The source added that the patrol was sent out after cattle were stolen by unidentified gunmen on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, reinforcements had been sent in after the attack to hunt for the killers and reassured residents of security of their lives and properties, a source said.

The poor, landlocked country, Burkina Faso in the heart of the Sahel, has been fighting a ruthless Islamist terrorist group.

The Volunteers for the Defence of the People (Motherland) was inaugurated in December 2019 to help the beleaguered military fight jihadists, but it has suffered major casualties and serious setbacks.

The volunteers are given two weeks’ military training, and then work alongside the security forces, typically carrying out surveillance, information-gathering, or escort duties.

According to an AFP tally, well over 200 VDP members have died since January 2020, nearly 50 of them this year.

Burkina Faso has endured almost daily attacks, sometimes intertwined with community conflicts, since jihadists from neighboring Mali launched raids in 2015.

More than 1,300 people have died and at least a million people have abandoned and fled their homes for safety, according to estimates.