Recent violence in Burkina Faso has killed 45 people and forced more than 17,500 people to flee their homes over the past ten days, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Friday.
UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov said the agency is deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in the West African country, after shooters carried out a series of attacks in three separate regions, shooting civilians and burning down and ransacking houses, health centers, and shops.
In the East Region, more than 4,400 people fled to the towns of Foutouri and Tankoualou following an attack on the village of Kodyel, while violence in the North Region pushed some 10,200 people to escape towards Ouahigouya, according to Cheshirkov.
In the Sahel Region, over 3,200 people have been recently displaced, he added.
The official said UNHCR teams are seeing “an increasing trend of people fleeing towards larger, more secure urban centers.”
“Most people are arriving with few or no belongings. Some have been generously welcomed by host families, while others have sought refuge in public buildings such as schools and other temporary shelters,” said Cheshirkov.
“They are in urgent need of food, shelter, clean water, and health care.”
Recurrent armed attacks in Burkina Faso have forced more than 1.14 million people to flee their homes in search of safety in just over two years.
The West African country hosts more than 20,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from Mali, according to the UNHCR.
The UN Refugee Agency called for “concerted action towards peace and stability and stood in solidarity with the Burkinabe authorities and the victims of violence.”