According to official media reports, at least 47 people were killed by rebels in the town of Abinda, including 30 civilians and 14 soldiers.

As violence in the Sahel region of West Africa once again escalated, rebel fighters killed dozens of people in northern Burkina Faso.

According to official media reports, in an attack near the northern town of Abinda on Wednesday, the insurgents killed at least 47 people, including 30 civilians, 14 soldiers and 3 pro-government militias.

Official media reported that 16 rebels were killed by government forces, while security sources said the number was 58.

Combatants associated with Al-Qaida and ISIL frequently launch attacks in Burkina Faso and neighboring Mali and Niger. This year alone, hundreds of civilians were killed.

Despite the presence of thousands of United Nations, regional, and Western troops, and some governments’ efforts to negotiate with rebel groups, violence in the Sahel, a semi-arid region under the Sahara Desert, continues to intensify.

Armed personnel killed at least 12 soldiers in northwestern Burkina Faso last week, and killed 30 civilians, soldiers and pro-government militias a few days ago.

In Niger, armed men killed 37 civilians, including 14 children, in an attack on a village on Monday.

At the time of the violence, the former colonial power France was preparing to start reducing its army in the Sahel from 5,000 to approximately 2,500-3,000.

In 2012, militants associated with al-Qaeda took over northern Mali, and the Sahel region fell into chaos.

The following year, France intervened to push them back. But they have restructured and expanded their operations and now threaten coastal West African countries such as Benin and Côte d’Ivoire.

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