Worst Burkina Faso Clashes in Years Leave at Least 46 Dead

(Bloomberg) -- At least 46 people died in inter-communal fighting in Burkina Faso’s north, days after the government declared a state of emergency in regions under threat from Islamist militant attacks.

The government, which had previously put the death toll at 16, is investigating whether the violence was linked to jihadism, spokesman Remy Fulgance Dandjino said in an interview Friday.

Gunmen raided the village of Yirgou in the Barsalogho district, killing at least seven people, including the village chief, his sons and his brother, Territorial Administration Minister Simeon Sawadogo said on state TV late Wednesday. Men from the village then carried out a reprisal attack on a nearby ethnic Fulani community, he said.

Clashes between farming communities and Fulani herders have increased in West Africa in recent years. Similar violence between herders and farmers in neighboring Mali left 37 people dead on Tuesday. At the same time, Burkina Faso’s government said earlier this week it was struggling to secure its borders and had imposed a state of emergency in seven of the country’s 13 regions to prevent militant attacks.

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