in Djibo, a life under a jihadist blockade

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The city was buzzing, impatient. We savored in advance the dish of tô, the millet porridge, which we would soon share with the family. The taste of sugar, for the more affluent, that we would put in our tea. The inhabitants of Djibo, in the north of Burkina Faso, watched the red track leading to Ougadougou, the capital, located 200 kilometers away, hoping to see on the horizon the procession of goods trucks that had come to fill the empty shops.

Alas, the convoy escorted by the army which was to supply the city besieged for seven months by jihadists will not arrive. On the road, he was the target of a violent attack on Monday, September 26. Dozens of trucks burned with their cargo. At least eleven soldiers were killed and around fifty civilians are still missing, according to a provisional official report. According to several media, French planes from the “Barkhane” force intervened as reinforcements, at the request of the Burkinabe authorities.

Read also: Burkina Faso: fifty civilians missing after a jihadist attack

On Wednesday, the Minister Delegate for Defense Silas Keïta denounced “unfortunate accomplices” at the origin of the ambush, and ensured that operations were underway to transport resources to Djibo as quickly as possible. Capital of the province of Soum, the city is supplied in dribs and drabs. The last convoy arrived in July. Left at the beginning of September, he himself was hit by the explosion of an artisanal mine which killed 35 people.

The trucks attacked on Monday were carrying several hundred tons of basic necessities: bags of millet, rice, cans of oil, soap, medicines. According to our information, the attackers were waiting for the procession to pass, in a camp abandoned by the army in Gaskindé, about twenty kilometers from Djibo.

no one goes in or out

“The soldiers tried to defend themselves but there were too many terrorists, so we got off the buses and started running in the bush. It was shooting in all directions, people were falling one by one around me., says a survivor, reached by telephone. This 64-year-old man says he walked twenty kilometers to the nearest town, with his two children wounded by bullets, in the cheek and in the kidney. That day, hundreds of travelers like him took advantage of the convoy to reach their homes in Djibo.

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