Dozens of towns in Burkina Faso besieged by jihadists: report


Armed groups are committing war crimes and human rights abuses as they besiege towns across Burkina Faso, the rights group Amnesty International has warned in a report.

Amnesty researchers say the jihadists have prevented residents in besieged areas from farming their land and grazing cattle, while also limiting their access to health and education, forcing tens of thousands of people to leave their homes.

Militants took control of at least 46 locations across Burkina Faso in July, preventing access to food and drinking water and abducting women, the report, published on Thursday, said.

Crimes includes killings of civilians, abductions of women and girls, attacks on civilian infrastructure and attacks on supply convoys.

Amnesty said the tactic of beseiging towns had increasingly been used since last year by armed groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

"Ansaroul Islam and other armed groups have committed heinous human rights abuses across Burkina Faso," wrote Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s regional director for west and central Africa, in the report.

"They have not only enforced sieges across the country, but they have also killed thousands of civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure, including bridges and water points."

Under siege

More than two million people have been forced to flee their homes.

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