Gunmen rampage in Burkina Faso

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Unidentified assailants killed at least 43 people in raids on villages in northern Burkina Faso one of the deadliest attacks of the past year government said.

The attackers targeted two villages in the North region, near the Mali border according to government statement.

No claim was immediately made for the attack. Jihadist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, and ethnic militias, repeatedly target civilians in the area, part of spiralling violence in Burkina and neighbours Mali and Niger.

The violence killed hundreds of civilians last year across the Sahel, alarming Western powers who poured money and troops to combat the Islamist groups. It comes as the US considers a drawdown of troops in the region.

Sunday’s attacks targeted villages inhabited by Fulani herders, another government statement said. Tit-for-tat reprisal killings between Fulani and rival farming communities surged over the past year, compounding destruction wrought by the jihadists.

Two attacks in northern Burkina Faso in January killed 36 and 39 people. Violence forced more than half a million from their homes and made much of the north ungovernable.