Eight jihadists presumed killed, 38 suspects arrested, a base destroyed ... This is the result of a joint operation presented as a first between the Burkinabè and Ivorian armies at the border of the two countries in recent days, according to the Côte d ' Ivory. “Alidougou terrorist base (Burkina Faso) destroyed. 08 terrorists killed, 24 suspects arrested at the BF (Burkina Faso) , 14 in CI (Côte d'Ivoire) made available to the intelligence services " , according to information transmitted to AFP by the General Staff of the Ivorian army. "Several weapons, ammunition, USB keys, mobile phones" were also "seized on the Alidougou base" .
The army stresses that "the zone is under control" and evokes the "satisfaction of the two staffs" and the "excellent results obtained thanks to the perfect coordination between the two armies" during the operation "Comoé", named of the river that crosses the two countries. This operation, presented as a first Saturday by the staffs, took place northeast of the city of Ferkessedougou (Ivory Coast) and south of Banfora (Burkina). Fighting took place in the area of the villages of Tinadalla and Diambeh, north of Kong (northeast, city of the family of President Alassane Ouattara), near the Burkinabè border, according to residents of the region met by a AFP journalist. They report a strong military presence in the area.
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According to a resident of Tindalla, suspect men had been present in the area for more than a month, coming and going on one side and the other of the Burkinabè border. The Ivorian army ensures that "no terrorist base exists on Ivorian territory" but notes that it "may have been used as a refuge zone during previous offensives" by the Burkinabè army. However, a Burkinabè security source said on Saturday that the whole operation had taken place in "Ivorian territory" .
A Burkinabè soldier, injured during the operation, was hospitalized in Korhogo (northern Côte d'Ivoire), a Burkinabè soldier told an AFP journalist in Korhogo. “The two armies have gathered. There is no longer any possibility of escaping. This is what has enabled us to have tangible results. We are not going to stop there. This is a first but I can assure you that it will not be the last, " said the Burkinabe chief of staff, General Moïse Miningou, to the press after a meeting with his counterpart on Friday. Ivorian in Ivory Coast. “It is necessary for us to unite to face the threat. They (the terrorists) managed to do it. They manage to join forces between armed terrorist groups. If we do not do it obviously, we will lose the war, ” commented the Ivorian chief of staff, General Lassina Doumbia.
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The operation, however, experienced a failure with the arrest of the squadron chief of the Kong gendarmerie, for having communicated confidential information about the operation to a civilian, according to elements of the investigation. This "probably" allowed some jihadists to flee, according to a security source.
The presence of jihadists north of Comoé National Park had been detected for over a year. According to security sources, these were militants operating in Burkina, who came to seek refuge on the Ivorian side of the border. Burkina Faso faces jihadist attacks that have left nearly 900 dead since 2015. In particular, an attack left three dead in the East on Friday.
Côte d'Ivoire was hit on March 13, 2016 by a jihadist attack: assailants opened fire on the beach in the seaside town of Grand-Bassam, near Abidjan, killing 19 people. Authorities said they thwarted several attempts since then. Several jihadist attacks have taken place near the border, on the Burkinabe side, never on the Ivorian side. The border area and the northeast area of Côte d'Ivoire are not recommended for travelers by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Jihadist violence affects the center of the Sahel, and resulted in 4,000 deaths in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in 2019, according to the UN.
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