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Burkina Faso forces kill nearly 30 ‘terrorists’ in operation

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[FILES] A soldier takes a position near the Naaba Koom military base in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, September 29, 2015. Burkina Faso soldiers seized control of the Naaba Koom military camp held by presidential guard soldiers with little resistance, an army officer said on Tuesday, after the elite unit rejected an order to disarm in the wake of a failed coup this month. REUTERS/Arnaud Brunet

Burkina Faso’s armed forces killed around 30 suspected militants last week in an land and air operation against jihadist groups operating in the east of the country, the military said on Sunday.

Burkina Faso, part of a joint French-led military campaign against jihadists in the Sahel, is on the frontline of the Islamist militant insurgency that has gripped parts of west and central Africa.

During last week’s operations, special forces, army and air force units hit militants in Kombienbiga, Kabonga and other eastern regions between Tuesday and Wednesday, an army statement said.

“This operation has taken out 29 terrorists and recovered an important quantity of weapons and ammunition as well as destroying a large stock of food supplies,” it said.

A security source said most of the militants were killed in air strikes on their hideouts and rest in clean-up sweeps by ground forces.

Militant raids began in the north of Burkina Faso in 2015 before spreading to the east, leaving more than 300 dead so far, according to AFP estimates.

The capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times in the past three years, killing at least 60 people, including in a coordinated attack last March targeting the French embassy and the country’s military headquarters.

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