Statement by Manenji Mangundu, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Burkina Faso, on the Solhan attack of 5 June.
“The slaughter of over a hundred civilians, the highest number of casualties from a single attack in recent years in Burkina Faso, marks a shocking escalation in the violence that has engulfed the country since 2015. Killed in the middle of the night by armed assailants, the victims include women and children who were given no choice to flee, no chance to live.
Such attacks have been the prime driver of displacement in the country. Within less than 3 years, Burkina Faso’s displaced population jumped from virtually zero to over 1.2 million, making it the world’s fastest growing displacement crisis. After a substantial drop in civilian deaths over the past 12 months, a new surge of violence since May has sadly reversed the trend. This flare up has triggered fresh displacements in a country that is overstretched and struggling to cope with a full-blown humanitarian crisis.
While each attack is measured by its death toll, there are more elusive counts to keep: the number of families forced into hurried escapes, or the number of weeks, months and years they will spend away from home. And let’s not forget what can’t be quantified at all: the trauma children witnessing such horrifying violence bear, the fear of not knowing where to go to keep your family safe, the stress of having to find a place to sleep or enough to eat.
The Norwegian Refugee Council expresses its condolences to the families of the victims. We condemn this senseless brutality and abhorrent violation of human rights and will continue to stand firmly with the displaced populations of Burkina Faso and the host communities that are welcoming them to safety.”