Burkina Faso: 14 days to evacuate before a large-scale military operation | News

Civilians were ordered to leave two large “areas of military interest” covering about 13,000 square kilometers in the north and southeast.

Burkina Faso’s army has given civilians two weeks to evacuate large areas in the north and southeast of the country before launching military operations against opposition fighters.

The military evacuation order comes after a major rebel offensive on June 11 that left at least 100 civilians dead and displaced thousands more.

The West African nation’s army this week ordered civilians to leave “two large areas of military interest” for their protection, but did not specify how long they would have to evacuate or where they should go.

One military district is a rural area of ​​about 2,000 square kilometers (772 sq mi) on the border with Mali in the northern province of Soum. The other military zone covers about 11,000 square kilometers (4,247 square miles) on the southern border with Benin and is mostly national park territory.

“There will be a 14-day postponement for the resident population to join in safer areas,” army spokesman Yves Didier Bamonet told a news briefing on Friday.

“It is very important to be able to distinguish between friends and foes,” he said, without providing further details.

A mediator from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said last week that authorities in Burkina Faso control only 60 percent of the country and that the remaining territory is outside state control, noting that the country faces “security and humanity”. political, social and economic.”

Reuters was unable to determine the number of people residing in the areas designated for evacuation, although military sources said the government would provide support for the displaced.

The government did not immediately respond to inquiries.

Burkina Faso has been battling rebel fighters active in the region, some with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS, since 2015.

The fighting has displaced more than 1.85 million people in Burkina Faso alone and killed thousands across the Sahel region.

On Friday, the military also announced a three-month ban on some brands of motorcycles and tricycles in parts of eight regions.

The base aims to help the military distinguish between civilians and insurgents who are known to travel and carry out attacks on motorbikes.

No details or timetable for the upcoming military operation were disclosed.

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