IS claims Burkina attack which killed 14 soldiers

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THIES, SENEGAL - FEBRUARY 19, 2020: Burkinabe special forces practiced responding to attacks at a military training exercise run by the United States in Thies, Senegal, on February 19, 2020. Soldiers said they had to work harder in response to a growing extremist threat in Burkina Faso's restive north. (Photo by Danielle Paquette/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
File Photo: THIES, SENEGAL – FEBRUARY 19, 2020: Burkinabe special forces practiced responding to attacks at a military training exercise run by the United States in Thies, Senegal. Soldiers said they had to work harder in response to a growing extremist threat in Burkina Faso’s restive north. (Photo by Danielle Paquette/The Washington Post via Getty Images).

The Islamic State on Saturday said it had staged a midweek ambush which killed 14 soldiers in jihadist-hit Burkina Faso ahead of elections this month.

The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara said it carried out the raid, one of the worst on troops, in a message carried on its Amaq news outlet and carried on social media.

The group said it killed 20 soldiers traveling in a convoy on Wednesday in Tin-Akoff in Oudalan province.

Rival group the Jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) had Friday claimed responsibility in social media posts.

A government spokesman Thursday put the death toll at 14 while blaming “armed terrorist groups.”

The attack took place in the country’s north, near the border with Mali and Niger, and came ahead of presidential and legislative elections on November 22.

The latest bout of violence has seen several candidates, including incumbent President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, suspend campaigning for two days.

The unrest will prevent residents of almost 1,500 villages out of some 8,000 in the country from taking part in the vote.

But in September, parliament passed a law allowing the results to be validated even if polling did not take place everywhere

The Burkinabe armed forces have suffered a spate of attacks.

In the worst, 24 soldiers were killed at a military base in Koutougou in the north in August 2019.

The jihadists have been making incursions from neighbouring Mali since 2015 and killed at least 1,200 people while forcing more than a million from their homes.

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