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Burkina Faso declares state of emergency in violence-hit areas



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Burkina Faso is declaring a state of emergency in provinces grappling with jihadist violence, Communications Minister Remis Fulgance Dandjinou said on Monday.

“The president has decided to declare a state of emergency in certain provinces of Burkina Faso. He has also given instructions for specific security measures across the country,” Mr Dandjinou said after a cabinet meeting that followed a deadly attack on police.

Ten gendarmes were killed and three wounded on Thursday in an ambush in the northwest of the country, near the border with Mali.

They had been heading to the village of Loroni after a school had been attacked and textbooks torched by armed assailants, a security source told AFP.

The state of emergency applies to a number of provinces that lie within seven of the country’s 13 administrative regions, Mr Dandjinou said.

The regions are Hauts-Bassins, Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades, North and Sahel, in the west and north of the country, and the East and Centre-East in the east.

Names of the provinces where the state of emergency is to be applied will be made public in a presidential decree, he said.

A state of emergency gives additional powers to the security forces to carry out searches of homes and to restrict freedom of movement.

The impoverished Sahel state has been battling a rising wave of jihadist attacks over the last three years.

They began in the north of the country but have since spread to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.

Most attacks are attributed to the jihadist group Ansarul Islam, which emerged near the Mali border in December 2016, and to the JNIM (the Group to Support Islam and Muslims), which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Those groups are believed to be responsible for more than 255 deaths since 2015.

The capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times and almost 60 people have died there.