Military Interest Zone: Burkina Faso’s Army Asks Civilians To Evacuate

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Burkina Faso’s army has ordered civilians to evacuate two large “military interest zones” in its northern and southeastern regions ahead of anticipated operations against Islamist insurgents.

The announcement was made late on Monday, with few details about how long people have to evacuate or where they should go.

Commander of national operations, Lieutenant-colonel Yves-Didier Bamouni said “A period of time will be granted to the resident populations to reach more secure areas.”

The West African country has been battling an insurgency by Islamist militants, some linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, since 2015.

More than 1.85 million people are already displaced within Burkina Faso because of the fighting.

The announcement followed an attack in the north on June 11 that killed over 100 people and displaced thousands more.

A group of military officers overthrew the democratic government in January with pledges to improve security, but attacks have only multiplied.

Affected Zones
One of the military zones is a rural area of about 2,000 square kilometres (772 square miles) bordering Mali in the northern province of Soum.

The other zone covers about 11,000 square kilometres on the southern border with Benin and is mostly national park land, covering the reserves of Arli, Kourtiagou, Madjoari, Pama, Singou, and W National Park.

 

REUTERS/CO

 

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