By James Tasamba
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AA) – Burkina Faso’s president urged citizens Thursday to remain courageous and unite against terrorist groups, which have recently stepped up deadly attacks on civilians and security forces.
Roch Marc Kabore’s call in a televised address came a day after a deadly attack that left dozens dead and many wounded.
“I call on Burkinabe people from within the country and outside to unite and mobilize regardless of religion, ethnicity, political opinion, in the fight against terrorism,” he said.
The president said he had ordered the recruitment of defense volunteers in areas under threat, stressing that “only a general mobilization of sons and daughters of the nation” can defeat the murderers.
Noting that the attacks were aimed at generating fear among the people and destabilizing the country’s democracy, Kabore said the defense and security forces would hunt down the terrorists and all their accomplices.
At least 37 people were killed and more than 60 wounded Wednesday in an attack on a convoy transporting local employees of Canadian mining company Semafo in eastern Burkina Faso, authorities said.
The ambush by "unidentified armed individuals" took place in the morning, Saidou Sanou, the governor of Est Region, said in a statement.
The attack took place between Semafo’s Fada and Boungou mine sites, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Boungou, according to a statement by the company.
Five buses were being escorted by the military when they were ambushed leading to several fatalities and injuries, the company said.
The president has declared three days of national mourning beginning Friday.
“During these 72 hours, I invite each Burkinabe to recollection and introspection, to strengthen his faith in unity, cohesion and peace in our country,” he said.
The attack is seen as the deadliest since Muslim extremists became active in the country in 2015.
Three militant groups have been creating havoc in the country’s north and east.
But even the capital Ouagadougou has not been spared.
Reports indicate that hundreds of people have been killed so far this year and more than 150,000 have fled their homes due to attacks across the Sahel region.