By Ahmet Emin Donmez
YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AA) - Burkina Faso has declared two days of mourning after suspected militants killed at least 41 members of a government-backed civilian militia in the country’s northern Loroum province.
In a statement, government spokesperson Alkassoum Maiga said that 41 members of the Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP) lost their lives in an ambush on Thursday while accompanying a convoy of traders in the region.
“In this painful circumstance and as a tribute to the valiant VDP and civilians who fell in defence of the homeland, the president of Burkina Faso decrees a national mourning period of 48 hours, starting Sunday,” Maiga added.
The Burkina Faso government came under criticism after the death of 58 soldiers in two terrorist attacks in November.
After these attacks, demonstrations were held to demand the resignation of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, and the government was accused of failing in the fight against terrorism.
Kabore dismissed Prime Minister Joseph Marie Dabire on Dec. 8 due to the rising backlash.
Al-Qaeda and Daesh-linked terrorist groups in neighboring Mali have been carrying out frequent attacks in the north and east of Burkina Faso since 2015.
According to data from the UN, more than 17,500 people had to leave the country for security reasons this year.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar