At least 15 security force members killed in north Burkina Faso attack

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - At least 15 Burkina Faso soldiers and army auxiliaries were killed in an attack in the north of the country on Wednesday, three security sources said on Thursday.

The attack took place in the West African country's Centre-North region, a hotbed of jihadist activity linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, and was carried out by unidentified armed assailants, the sources said.

One source said the troops were guarding water pipes that are frequently destroyed by the groups, which have blocked access to several parts of Burkina Faso's north and east.

Insurgents there have mined roads, besieged towns, wrecked water facilities and undermined efforts to deliver food and supplies to trapped civilians.

The government spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday's attack.

Burkina Faso is one of several West African countries battling violent Islamist groups that took root in neighbouring Mali and have spread across the region over the past decade.

Thousands have been killed and over two million displaced across the Sahel region south of the Sahara.

Frustrations over authorities' failure to restore security spurred two military takeovers in Burkina Faso and two in Mali since 2020.

(Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by William Maclean)

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