Burkina survivors recall 'horror movie' of jihadist assault

Burkina survivors recall 'horror movie' of jihadist assault
Burkina survivors recall 'horror movie' of jihadist assault

Villagers in eastern Burkina Faso spoke of how a rebel attack turned into a "horror movie" and accused the army of abandoning them to jihadists.

The final death toll from the assault remains unknown, with locals reporting several dead.

Armed men destroyed administrative buildings and set fire to grain stores in the village.

Despite appeals from local people over more than two weeks, security and defence forces left the area "knowing they had abandoned the population", the statement said.

The villagers said only civilian auxiliaries were present to try to defend them.

"It was a massacre," one survivor said.

"The village was totally ransacked and burned down.

"The terrorists surrounded the place for days before launching their attack," he added, listing "several dead".

The local residents' group urged the authorities to "take strong action and undertake major operations in the eastern region" and establish an exact death toll.

Burkina Faso authorities have yet to comment on the attack.

Burkina Faso is battling a jihadist insurgency that spread from Mali in 2015.

The violence, which has increased this year with dozens dying most weeks, has led to more than 10,000 deaths, according to estimates by NGOs. Some two million people have been displaced.

Around 40 percent of the nation's territory lies outside government control.

Last week the army announced a provisional death toll of 51 in a February 17 ambush in the far north for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.