TANWALBOUGOU, 6 April 2021 – Eight people have been killed in a raid by suspected Islamist militants in the small village of Tanwalbougou in eastern Burkina Faso.

Three police officers and five members of a pro-government self-defense militia group staffed by civilians were killed in the raid, late on Monday.

Burkina Faso Source CGTN

Burkina Faso Source CGTN

Tanwalbougou in Burkina Faso’s Gourma Province has suffered frequent attacks by Islamist militants.

The militia is armed by the government as a self-defense unit and set up in the hope of discouraging Islamist militants from thinking they could impose a reign of terror on unarmed communities.

The militia is also empowered to curb inter-communal clashes, but their primary function is to help protect towns, villagers, and local residents from criminal gangs and kidnappers using their captors to make money through ransom payments.

Burkinabe Soldiers in a Counterterrorism Action - Photo Senenews

Burkinabe Soldiers in a Counterterrorism Action – Photo Senenews

Members of the civilian self-defense militia have since become the favorite civilian target of the assailants.

Last February, the government of Burkina Faso made public its willingness to hold talks with the Islamist militants.

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