Côte d’Ivoire joined counterterrorist operation
Soldiers from Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso conducted their first joint operation against jihadists insurgency near their shared border, neutralising eight suspected militants and arresting 14 others, Ivorian army said on May 24.
Burkina Faso and its neighbours Mali and Niger in West Africa’s vast Sahel zone are conducting operaions against Islamist insurgencies with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, claiming to re-consturct the historic Caliphe of Sokoto.
Those terrorist groups have been strengthening and expanding their range of operations, leaving coastal countries like Cote d’Ivoire at risk of violence and unrest breaking into their territories.
The joint operation was launched on May 11 with about 1,000 Ivorian soldiers participating from their side of the 580-kilometre border with Burkina Faso, Ivorian army announced in a statement.
The suspected militants were killed in Burkina Faso, the army confirmed, adding that the operation is ongoing.
Jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have escalated dramatically over the past year despite significant military support from France, which is engaged in partnerships with former colonies.
While Cote d’Ivoire has mostly been spared the violence affecting its neighbours, it was the victim in 2016 of an attack claimed by al Qaeda in which gunmen killed 19 people at a beach resort.