Ivory Coast, Burkina offensive to flush out extremists

Armel BAILY à Ouagadougou, Patrick FORT et David ESNAULT à Abidjan | AFP
Sat, 2020-05-23 18:05

KORHOGO, Ivory Coast: Troops from Ivory Coast and neighboring Burkina Faso have launched an operation in northern Ivory Coast to flush out extremists from their border, military officials said Saturday.
The offensive, named Comoe after a river that flows through the two West African countries, is underway and has “produced results,” an Ivorian source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“At the initiative of the Ivorian army, an anti-terrorist operation has been on for several days at the border and led to the seizure of weapons,” a Burkinabe security source said.
The sources did not give any figures.
“Burkina Faso is taking part with 30 men, most of whom have been posted along the border,” to prevent insurgents from fleeing Ivory Coast, where the operation is being conducted, the source said.
“There is no way of avoiding the two armies,” said Burkina Faso’s chief of army staff General Moise Miningou during a meeting with his Ivorian counterpart in Ivory Coast on Friday.
“It’s this which has produced tangible results. This is just a first step and I assure you it won’t be the last,” he added.
The operation was launched at the start of May in the northeastern region of Ferkessedougou, sources said.
A Burkinabe soldier was injured during the operation and has been hospitalized in the northern Ivorian town of Korhogo, a Burkinabe military source said.
Extremist hideouts have been detected north of the Comoe National Park in northern Ivory Coast for over a year.
Security sources say they are extremists operating in Burkina Faso who shelter in Ivory Coast when chased.
Burkina Faso has faced repeated extremist attacks since 2015, which have claimed some 900 lives.
An attack in March 13, 2016 attack near Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan killed 19 people.

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