Burkina Faso once more in mourning after massacre

Ouagadougou: The impoverished Sahel state of Burkina Faso was plunged once more into mourning on Thursday, as the toll of people killed by suspected militants the day before climbed from 49 to 80, including 65 civilians.

The national flag was lowered to half-mast for three days of mourning at the parliament, presidency and government offices in the capital Ouagadougou, an AFP journalist saw, while the heavy casualties raised fresh doubts about the country’s armed forces.

Several television and radio channels changed their programming, mostly broadcasting songs paying tribute to the defence and security forces.

Newspapers and online media placed a black edging of mourning around their front pages, although some raised pointed questions over the country’s security crisis.

"Over the past five years, the days have come and gone but look the same to the Burkinabe public,” said the online outlet Wakatsera.

"The flags are raised and then almost immediately dropped to half-mast to mourn new dead, civilians and/or troops, in attacks by armed individuals who are usually never identified,” it said.

"This time, the mourning will last 72 hours. What about tomorrow?”

The landlocked country has been battered for the past six years by militant attacks from neighbouring Mali — the epicentre of a brutal insurgency that began in 2012 and has also hit Niger.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have died in the three countries, while according to UN figures, more than two million people have fled their homes.

In Burkina Faso itself, the toll stands at more than 1,500 dead and 1.3 million displaced. – AFP