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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - OUAGADOUGOU — A militant attack on a village in northern Burkina Faso at the weekend, in which men were separated from women and then massacred, left 39 dead, the government said on Wednesday.
Unofficial tolls from the massacre, which came to light on Tuesday, had given up to 50 dead.
"Sweep operations by the defense and security forces in the zone have confirmed the death of 39 of our fellow citizens in this cowardly and barbarous attack," government spokesman Remis Fulgance Dandjinou said in a statement.
The attack took place on Saturday in the northern province of Soum, on the front line of a deadly insurgency that has spread from neighboring Mali.
A resident in the nearby town of Bourzanga, quoting survivors, said by phone on Tuesday: "Terrorists surrounded the people at the village market, before separating them into two groups.
"The men were executed and the women were ordered to leave the village."
A security official gave a preliminary toll of between 10 and 30 dead, while witnesses spoke of as many as 50 dead.
Security forces were unable to enter the village quickly for fear of booby-trapped bombs.
In a separate development on Tuesday, a security official said six soldiers were killed and others were missing after their patrol struck a highway bomb in eastern Kompienga province and then came under fire.
Jihadist groups have killed almost 800 people in Burkina Faso and displaced 600,000 more since the start of 2015.
The figure could rise to 900,000 by April, Jan Egeland, the former UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs who is now head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said during a visit on Monday.
Some 36 people were killed in two villages in northern Sanmatenga province on Jan. 20. — AFP
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