TEHRAN -- Iran has condemned a terrorist attack against civilians in a town in northern Burkina Faso, the deadliest since 2015, expressing its readiness to cooperate with African countries in the fight against terrorism.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh expressed deep regret over the killing of at least 160 Burkina Faso nationals on the country’s border with Mali and Niger in the attack.
“Iran is ready to share its experience in the fight against terrorism with the African countries, including Burkina Faso,” the spokesman said.
During the attack, suspected gunmen killed at least 160 civilians, including some 20 children, in Burkina Faso. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the incident.
Security and local sources said “armed individuals staged an incursion” into the northern town of Solhan, in Yagha province near the borders of Mali and Niger, during the night of Friday into Saturday.
In Solhan, local sources said they have recovered a total of 160 bodies from three mass graves.
“It’s the local people themselves who have started exhuming the bodies and burying them after transporting them,” one local source said.
The slaughter followed the slaying of 14 people late Friday in the village of Tadaryat in the same region, where armed combatants with links to the Al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorist groups have been targeting civilians and soldiers.
On Saturday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the heinous attack, his spokesperson said in a statement.
Stephane Dujarric said the UN chief had expressed deepest condolences to the bereaved and the government and people of Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso has been battling the armed combatants over the past few years.
Hundreds have been killed in the past year in the Sahel nation, and over half a million people have been displaced.
According to the United Nations’ data, Takfiri and inter-communal violence was to blame for 4,000 deaths last year in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
The attacks first started in the north near the Mali border, but have since spread to other regions, particularly the east.
Around 1,300 people have died and more than a million have fled from homes.