In 2018, soldiers sped through a crowded market in the northern town of Taouremba, shooting their guns into the air where their drone hovered above. The group of gunmen gathered the men towards the central marketplace and allowed the women to run home.
Abducting villagers from their homes
According to The New York Times, one soldier started to read names off a tablet computer, and those that were called were ordered to strip naked, soldiers then used their own clothes to tie them up and placed them in the back of a pickup truck.
When a few men tried to hide among the crowd, two informants revealed their location to the soldiers, resulting in one being shot on the spot.
Several witnesses and human rights advocates later revealed that the bodies of the 13 civilians that were abducted were found dumped outside of the town.
Burkina Faso, in the last four years, had faced similar chaos, having armed men rob civilians, threatening and murdering some of the least fortunate citizens in the West African nation, and driving away 850,000 people from their homes.
The group of gunmen consist of terrorists that are loosely connected with the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, while some are bandits or vigilantes. A few, however, and the African government denies the claim, are part of the Burkina Faso's armed forces.
The attacks that occurred between January 17 and 25 forced the government's plans to accelerate its creation of a militia force which had raised concerns of potential future abuses, as reported by HRW.
A crisis and conflict researcher, Jonathan Pedneault of the Human Rights Watch, said that the massive killings that the murderous men committed reveal their disregard for human life. He added that the leaders of armed groups should immediately cease these attacks and prevent them from happening against civilians.
Previously, Human Rights Watch had recorded 250 civilian casualties in the hands of Islamist armed groups between April and December of last year. It includes incidents where security forces executed the men they have in custody over allegations of expressing their support of the armed groups.
Calls for peace
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis had recently announced his appeal to end the violence in the nation of Burkina Faso and encouraged interreligious communication and coordination.
This year had already seen the deaths of at least 110 civilians in jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso. And in the last 18 months, it is believed that more than 2,000 people have lost their lives and are still incomplete statistics. The missing figures are a result of a law that prohibits journalists from tackling stories that could lead to the demoralization of the country's defence forces.
After the attacks in Taouremba in 2018, some people have left the village while others have stayed, thinking that the soldiers were satisfied with what they have done and who they have killed.
In 2019, however, another group of soldiers arrived in the village, and this time, they took 33 men. The villagers reportedly only found the bodies of 28 men.
Now, the marketplace in Taouremba is filled with hallowed halls with empty houses and a millet field is left fallow.
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