The death toll in the attack on Karma, a village in northern Burkina Faso, is much higher than the authorities announced yesterday. At least 150 civilians are said to have been killed and many others injured, United Nations spokesman Ravina Shamdasani said. On behalf of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, she calls for independent investigation and accountability of the perpetrators.
The public prosecutor in Burkina Faso yesterday spoke of 60 civilians killed by “men in military uniforms.” He wants to investigate the matter.
The fact that it concerns men in uniform leads to the suspicion that it is a retaliatory action by the army and paramilitary organizations. Two weeks ago there was an attack on a base of the VDP militia, which assists the army. Dozens of soldiers were killed. So killing the citizens of Karma could be an act of revenge.
“According to credible reports, the attackers accused the residents of the village of harboring members of Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslim, a group affiliated with the Islamic State, and other non-state armed groups,” said Shamdasani.
On behalf of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, she calls on all parties not to target civilians and civilian objects. “Intentionally targeting civilians or persons not directly participating in hostilities is a war crime,” she warns.
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