By Thiam Ndiaga and Anne Mimault
OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Hundreds of mourners gathered in Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday for the funeral of 27 troopers killed in an ambush final month that triggered the nation’s second coup this yr led by a army unit fed up with rampant insecurity.
The coffins had been wrapped within the Burkina Faso flag and sided by portraits of the troopers who had been killed on Sept. 26 whereas escorting a convoy that was delivering provides to a northern city besieged by Islamist insurgents.
“Persons are saddened and sickened by the scenario we’re experiencing. It actually hurts the guts to see younger individuals of their prime leaving,” stated Abdoul Fatao Bangue, a good friend of one of many troopers.
Tributes for fallen troopers have turn out to be a daily incidence within the impoverished West African nation, the place teams linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have killed 1000’s of individuals in raids on rural communities since 2015.
In current months, insurgents have blockaded elements of the arid north, inflicting acute meals shortages for 1000’s.
On Sept. 30, 4 days after the assault, troopers led by Captain Ibrahim Traore overthrew President Paul-Henri Damiba and promised better safety. Damiba had staged his personal coup in January promising the identical, just for the assaults to proceed.
Traore has a large job forward, not least securing Djibo, the city that the convoy was attempting to achieve on Sept. 26. It has turn out to be a obtrusive instance of the federal government’s lack of management within the north – and of the value paid by civilians caught within the center.
Militants have for years managed to isolate Djibo from the capital 200 kilometres (120 miles) away, through the use of explosive gadgets, ambushes and unlawful checkpoints.
This yr, issues have gotten a lot worse, residents and humanitarian staff instructed Reuters. The insurgents have reduce off meals and medical provides, together with remedy for malnourished kids. Market cabinets are empty; even salt is difficult to seek out.
Solely humanitarian flights are in a position to get in, however even they’re struggling to fulfill residents’ wants. Military convoys bringing provides face the specter of assaults.
“We lack meals and we won’t even purchase any out there,” stated one resident, talking on situation of anonymity. “With out options, we eat leaves and meat.”
The militants do not enable freedom of motion. Anybody leaving dangers being killed and nobody can entry their farms or cattle, the residents stated.
“I’ve been notably shocked by how briskly the scenario deteriorated all through these previous months,” stated Alfarock Ag-Almoustakine, a venture coordinator in Djibo for Medical doctors With out Borders.
“We actually hope that every one events can discover a resolution to provide town as shortly as potential to keep away from a humanitarian disaster.”
(Writing and extra reporting by Edward McAllister; Modifying by Ros Russell)