(CNN) — At least a hundred civilians were killed in a “barbaric attack” on the village of Solhan in northern Burkina Faso on Friday night, President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré said on Twitter on Saturday.
According to the state news agency AIB, armed “terrorists” were “shooting indiscriminately” at houses in several neighbourhoods, setting homes and the Solhan market on fire.
Kaboré declared national mourning for 3 days until Monday night, with a message posted on Twitter that read: “I bow to the memory of the hundred civilians killed in this barbaric attack and send my condolences to the families of the victims.”
“Defense and security forces are working hard to find and neutralize the perpetrators of this despicable act. We must stand united against these forces of evil,” he added.
In May, two Spanish journalists and an Irish citizen on an anti-poaching patrol were killed after being kidnapped from a national park near Burkina Faso’s border with Benin.
According to the United Nations, more than a million people have fled their homes due to violence in the country in the past two years, where it has become “one of the fastest growing displacement crises in the world.”
Violence by militant Islamist groups has intensified in Burkina Faso and the wider Western Sahel region in recent months, causing global concern.
In the Sahel region of more than 2.5 million square kilometers, security is threatened by rapidly expanding Islamist insurgencies, with some groups loyal to Al Qaeda and others to the so-called Islamic State. Insurgencies have been emboldened by the widespread availability of weapons that flowed south after the 2011 Libyan civil war. Both Mali and Chad are now in the hands of the military.
Niger’s president told CNN last week that terrorists roaming the Sahel are now equipped with weapons that “no non-state group has had access to before.”