DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The European Union is calling for an investigation into the massacre of nearly 100 civilians including women and children in Burkina Faso.
The killings took place in the village of Zaongo in the Center-North region earlier this month, the EU said in a statement Sunday.
“The European Union calls on the transitional authorities to shed light on the circumstances of this killing in order to determine responsibility,” it said.
It’s unclear who perpetrated the attacks, Burkina Faso’s government didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The West African nation has been grappling with a jihadi insurgency linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group for years. Thousands of people have been killed and more than 2 million internally displaced.
The violence has led to two coups, with the current junta seizing power in September 2022. The junta, led by Capt. Ibrahim Traore, has been accused by rights groups of committing abuses against civilians and cracking down on civil liberties, in the name of securing the country.
Earlier this month the junta enacted an emergency law against perceived dissidents to expand its crackdown, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. It notified at least a dozen journalists, civil society activists and opposition members that they’ll be conscripted to participate in government security operations across the country, the report said.
In its attempt to stem the jihadi threat, the government has enlisted tens of thousands of volunteer fighters, but civilians say the volunteers indiscriminately kill people suspected of working with the jihadis. Many communities say they’re more afraid of the volunteers than the extremists.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, last week, Molly Phee, head of African affairs at the U.S. State Department, said she was “shocked and saddened” by the news of the killings in Zaongo and urged authorities to investigate and hold those responsible to account.