Burkina Faso Records Dozens of Dead in Fresh Communal Fighting

(Bloomberg) -- Clashes in northern Burkina Faso left 62 people dead as attacks by Islamist militants in the region increasingly stoke tension between different ethnic communities.

The fighting around the town of Arbinda, at the edge of a nature reserve bordering Mali, marks the second time this year that dozens of people died in inter-communal clashes. The fighting was spread over three days and appears to have been triggered by the murder of a religious leader by suspected militants.

While Burkina Faso was stable for decades and only in recent years saw a spill-over of violence from neighboring Mali, the number of fatalities has reached almost 500, according to data by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

“Thirty people were killed in communal clashes and retaliation attacks between ethnic communities,” Minister for Territorial Administration Simeon Sawadogo told state TV late Wednesday during a visit to Arbinda. “Two days later, terrorists killed 32 civilians and abducted nine people.”

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