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Al Qaeda affiliate claims responsibility for Burkina attack this month, SITE Intelligence Group says

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DAKAR (Reuters) -Al Qaeda affiliate Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) group has claimed responsibility for what it said was attack on June 11 that killed over 100 Burkina Faso soldiers in Mansila area near the border with Niger, the SITE Intelligence Group said on Sunday.

A spokesman for Burkina Faso’s ruling junta has not responded to a Reuters request for comment about an attack in the area.

SITE quoted a JNIM statement as saying that five days ago “fighters stormed a military post in the town, where they killed 107 soldiers and took control of the site”.

Several videos shared online by the insurgents showed raging gunfire around the army base. Another video showed a display of dozens of weapons and ammunitions, and at least seven Burkina Faso soldiers captured by the insurgents.

Reuters has not authenticated the videos.

The reported attack was one of the deadliest suffered by the West African Sahel nation’s army as it, alongside neighbours Niger and Mali, struggle to contain insurgencies linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Over more than a decade, the insurgencies have killed thousands and displaced over two million in Burkina Faso. The unrest is also threatening the stability of the region as the insurgents, who control swathes of territories in Burkina Faso and Mali, use them as bases to target southern coastal countries.

(Reporting by Bate FelixEditing by Tomasz Janowski and Frances Kerry)

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