June 4 massacre that led to the killing of more than 130 people, was conducted by minors aged 12 to 14, said Burkina Faso government and the United Nations. In Burkina Faso, jihadists have used child soldiers to carry out attacks.
The attackers had struck during the night, killing residents of the village of Solhan in Yagha province, bordering Niger. They also burned homes and the market, the government said in a statement.
Despite the presence of thousands of UN peacekeepers, attacks by jihadists linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in West Africa’s Sahel region have risen sharply since the start of the year, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with civilians bearing the brunt.
The violence in Burkina Faso has displaced more than 1.14 million people in just over two years, while the poor, arid country is hosting some 20,000 refugees from neighbouring Mali.
The latest attack pushes the number killed by armed Islamists in the Sahel region to over 500 since January, according to Human Rights Watch’s West Africa director, Corinne Dufka.
In March, attackers killed 137 people in coordinated raids on villages in southwestern Niger.