Thirty-one detainees executed in Burkina Faso – HRW

Human Rights Watch said Monday April 20 that Burkina Faso’s security forces executed 31 unarmed detainees in the northern town of Djibo, and called for an immediate investigation.

The men, all from the Fulani ethnic group, were killed just hours after being arrested on April 9 during a government counterterrorism operation.

The incident took place in Djibo, about 200 kilometres north of the capital Ouagadougou. Seventeen people were interviewed over the killings, including 12 witnesses to the arrests and later burial of the victims. They have confirmed the facts.

For Corinne Dufka, HRW’s director for the Sahel region, it made “a brutal mockery of a counterterrorism operation that may amount to a war crime and could fuel further atrocities”.

Burkina Faso, one of the world’s poorest countries, has battled a jihadist insurgency since 2015. The conflict has provoked attacks on Fulani herders whom other communities accuse of supporting militants.

HRW said it had sent its findings to the Burkinabe government but their statement did not include any response from the authorities.