from ISSOUF TRAORE in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
OUAGADOUGOU, (CAJ News) – HUMAN rights groups have urged Burkina Faso to probe and hold those accountable after the discovery of common graves containing at least 180 bodies north of the country.
In addition, some corpses have been found along major roadways, under bridges, fields and vacant farms over the past three months.
It is alleged government security forces were involved in the mass extrajudicial executions.
All the bodies discovered in the town of Djibo are male.
It is believed they were buried in March and April.
The majority of the victims are reportedly ethnic Fulani or Peuhl men.
They have been identified by their clothing and physical features.
Many were found blindfolded and with bound hands, and had been shot.
“The Burkina Faso authorities need to urgently uncover who turned Djibo into a killing field,” said Corinne Dufka, Sahel director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Dufka said existing information pointed towards government security forces.
“So it’s critical to have impartial investigations, evidence properly gathered, and families informed about what happened to their loved ones.”
The government of President of Roch Kabore has pledged to investigate.
However, it has partly absolved the military, claiming that armed groups could have stolen army uniforms and weapons to commit crimes against rival groups.
Islamist groups allied with Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State have since 2016 attacked security force posts and civilians throughout the West African country.
Most attacks have been in the Sahel region bordering Mali and Niger.
– CAJ News