Human Rights Watch report accuses Burkina Faso’s military of killings, torture

Human Rights Watch report accuses Burkina Faso’s military of killings, torture

A Human Rights Watch report has accused the Burkina Faso military of terrorizing communities in the country’s northeast this year with instances of arbitrary killings, forced disappearances, and incidents of torture.

The violence erupted in the province of Séno between February and May.

According to the report, no fewer than 27 persons were either summarily executed or disappeared, the majority of whom belonged to the Fulani ethnic group.

The assessment by the New York-based watchdog comes after an April atrocity in Karma, a northern village near the Mali border, in which villagers said security forces massacred at least 150 civilians, The Associated Press reported.

“The soldiers shot and I ran. I saw the others falling on the ground, but I kept running,” the HRW report quoted a survivor of the incident. Only four of the men survived, two of whom suffered critical injuries.

“In the cases we documented, most of those who have been victims of these crimes were from the Fulani ethnic group,” explained Ilaria Allegrozzi, the senior regional researcher at Human Rights Watch.

A government representative in Burkina Faso did not reply to a request for clarification on the report.

Fulani ethnic groups in Burkina Faso and Mali have been accused of working with extremist militants and have been frequently targeted by security authorities and others as a result.

The report, however, says targeting civilians is unnecessary, inhumane, and ultimately counterproductive.

For seven years, extremist terrorists linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organization have waged a brutal insurgency in Burkina Faso.

Thousands of people have been killed and the country has been divided as a result of the bloodshed, which resulted in two coups last year.

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