Jihadists attacked a town in northern Burkina Faso and killed 35 civilians, most of them women, and ensuing clashes with security forces left 80 jihadists dead. President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said this on Tuesday, reported the Xinhua news agency.
A large group of jihadists attacked simultaneously the military detachment and civilians in Arbinda, province of Soum, the army said in a statement. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. A number of Islamic extremist groups are known to operate in Burkina Faso, though they generally do not usually come forward when civilian casualties are high.
The violence lasted for several hours, according to the military statement.
Army said seven soldiers and 80 militants were killed as the army repelled Tuesday's attack.
President Kabore declared two days of national mourning in the landlocked West African country.
Islamic extremism in Burkina Faso
For years Burkina Faso was spared the kind of Islamic extremism long seen across the border in Mali, where it took a 2013 French-led military intervention to dislodge jihadists from power in several major towns.
Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed after gunmen opened fire inside a church in eastern Burkina Faso. Jihadist attacks have increased in Burkina Faso since 2015.
A number of Islamic extremist groups are known to operate in Burkina Faso, and jihadist attacks are frequent in the area.