At least 60 people were killed by men in military uniforms in northern Burkina Faso, authorities said. The killings took place in the area of Barga, in Yatenga province, the injured have been evacuated to hospitals and an investigation into the killings has been opened, said Lamine Traore, Burkina Faso's prosecutor, in a statement Sunday.
My office was alerted about the seriousness of some of the facts. I, therefore, gave instructions to the investigation unit to carry out investigations in order to illuminate the said facts and hear all the people who are involved, he said.
Jihadi fighters linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have waged a violent insurgency in Burkina Faso for seven years. The violence has killed thousands of people, displaced some 2 million, and destabilised and divided the once peaceful country, leading to two coups last year.
Since Capt. Ibrahim Traore seized power in September during the second coup, extrajudicial killings of civilians have increased according to rights groups and residents.
Burkina Faso's government recently announced it was opening other investigations into allegations of human rights abuses by its security forces after a video surfaced that appeared to show the extrajudicial killing of seven children in the country's north.
Read: PM Modi to chair high-level meeting on security of Indians in violence-hit Sudan
The Associated Press this month published its own findings about the video. AP's investigation determined that Burkina Faso's security forces killed the children in a military base outside the town of Ouahigouya.
As jihadis intensify attacks the government controls less than 50 per cent of territory in the country the junta is becoming increasingly overwhelmed, conflict analysts say.
"The junta is struggling to convince the public that it will uphold its main promise of improving security," said Mucahid Durmaz, senior analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, a global risk intelligence firm.
?The junta's counterterrorism strategy risks triggering a series of extrajudicial civilian killings in rural areas, due to the loose chain of command and ill-disciplined volunteer militia groups," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)