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At least 70, mostly children, killed in attack on Burkina Faso village

At least 70 persons, mostly children and elderly people, were killed in an attack on Zaongo, a village north of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, earlier this month.

The killing which happened on November 5 was only announced on Monday by a state prosecutor who added that the assailants set property on fire afterwards.

In a statement on Wednesday, Save the Children International (SCI), the charity organisation, called for an urgent investigation into the massacre.

Benoit Delsarte, SCI country director in Burkina Faso, said the incident is a grave reminder that children bear the brunt of conflict and insecurity in the country.

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“Children only ask to live in a safe environment, where they can learn and live to their full potential,” the statement reads.

“In this horrific attack, they were denied this simple request. And, for the children who survived, they will have witnessed their peers lose their lives, and their suffering may last for years.

“The perpetrators of these crimes against children must be held to account and brought to justice. Impunity for violations of children’s rights feed into the narrative that these crimes are acceptable and can create cycles of violence.

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“Save the Children calls on the government of Burkina Faso to respond to all forms of violence, in all contexts, as this is essential to ensure children’s rights to survival, development and well-being.

“The seriousness of this incident requires that the competent authorities carry out investigations thoroughly with a view to identifying and bringing those responsible to justice.”

Burkina Faso is one of several West African countries battling a jihadist insurgency that took root in neighbouring Mali in 2012.

Violence has spread across the Sahel region and more recently to coastal countries as militants seize territory despite military operations to push them back. Thousands have been killed and more than six million have fled their homes.

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Save the Children began working in Burkina Faso in 1982 and implement programmes in child health, education and protection.

These programmes focus on improving maternal and child health, addressing malnutrition and food insecurity, promoting school enrollment particularly for girls, ending child marriage and keeping children safe, as well as raising awareness of children’s rights.

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