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24 soldiers killed in militant attack in Burkina Faso; others wounded, missing

media Soum province, in the north of Burkina Faso, where the attack was carried out on 19 August 2019 RFI

Suspected Islamist militant gunmen killed 24 soldiers in an army unit attack in Koutougou, in Burkina Faso’s northern Soum province on Monday, according to Burkina officials. The army had initially put the death toll at 10 people.

"August 19th is a dark stain on the life of our national army," said President Roch Marc Kabore in a statement.

"It is a heavy toll, which ... saddens us," he added.

Seven other soldiers were wounded and five are missing, he said in the statement.

The army launched an army and air force operation to find the culprits.

Although Burkina was considered a stable country within the Sahel region, insurgency from within over the past three years as well as some jihadist violence exported froml its neighbor, Mali have created strife.

The opposition Union for Progress and Change (UPC) party has called for the government to step down after this latest attack, accusing them of failing push out jihadists and protect its citizens.

"It's a team overwhelmed by the turn of events, which is currently crossing its arms, waiting for how fate will play them and the Burkinabes," said UPC in a statement.

Some 150,000 people have fled the region and hundreds have been killed.

The government had issued a state of emergency in a number of northern regions near Mali, including Soum, last December.

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