20 Senegal-bound pilgrims killed in Burkina Faso

What really happened in Ougarou, in the eastern region of Burkina Faso, where Nigerian citizens on their way to Senegal…

What really happened in Ougarou, in the eastern region of Burkina Faso, where Nigerian citizens on their way to Senegal for a religious event were massacred?While multiple sources accuse the Burkinabe army of carrying out the killings, the government believes that they bear the hallmark of jihadist groups active in the country.

Different sources reported that the bus carrying Muslim pilgrims from Nigeria, on their way to celebrate the birth of their religious leader, Sheikh Ibrahima Niasse in Kaolack, central Senegal, broke down in Ougarou, a village in the commune of Matiacoali, in eastern Burkina Faso, on Wednesday February 1, 2023.

 While some passengers were sitting in the bus, others chose to explore the first village on foot, APA learnt from local sources. 

16 passengers reportedly came across armed men dressed in Burkinabe military uniforms on the way. 

The ‘assailants’ opened fire, killing, according to our sources, 16 Nigerians on the spot.

 Sources immediately blamed the killings on the army unit in charge of escorting a convoy from the Boungou mine, whose members were accused by the Collective against Impunity and Stigmatisation of Communities (CISC) of having killed nearly thirty people as it passed through the villages of Piega, Sakoani and Kankangou.

The government denied these allegations, arguing that “for the moment, no concrete information or elements have been recorded on the ground that prove the truth of the facts.”

During an audience with the Nigerian ambassador to Burkina Faso, Misitura Abdulraheem, the Minister of Foreign Affairs described the army and its auxiliaries as “responsible, aware of international humanitarian law and respecting the texts and instructions on the matter.”


Olivia Rouamba also pointed out that the modus operandi of insurgent groups in Burkina Faso has changed in recent months. 

“When they are forced to the front, they operate by manipulation. They attack the civilian population by posing as Burkinabe SDF,” the diplomat claimed.

In a statement issued on Saturday February 4, the religious city of Medina Baye, founded by Sheikh Ibrahima Niasse, one of the sons of the creator of the Tidiane Sufi branch of the ‘Niassene,’ El Hadji Abdoulaye Niasse, attributed the killing to “unidentified armed gangs.”

 Médina Baye, to where the victims were heading, puts the death toll at 18 and protests against “the use of the terms jihad and jihadists in connection with the killing of innocent civilians,” thus attributing the killing to Islamist insurgents who are scouring the north and east of Burkina Faso. 

For the religious city of Kaolack, “such an act is the antithesis of the recommendations of the Koran,” calling the people who commit such acts simply as ”bandits and criminals of the worst kind”.

 Urging Muslims to abide by the recommendations of their religion, Medina Baye called on West African governments to ensure the adoption of measures recommended by the regional bloc Ecowas to “eradicate terrorism in the region and guarantee the free and secure movement of people and goods.”

 Burkina Faso has been facing a jihadist insurgency since 2015 which has claimed thousands of lives and displaced nearly two million people.


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