According to the Nigerian presidency, gunmen in Burkina Faso assaulted the buses carrying Nigerian Muslim pilgrims on their route to Senegal, killing at least 15 of them.
Without elaborating on the attack, the State House announced in a statement that “President Muhammadu Buhari has received the unfortunate news of the murder.”
The death toll was 15 “so far,” a Nigerian presidency spokesperson told Reuters through WhatsApp.
An unnamed assailant allegedly hit the bus convoy on Wednesday, killing 18 passengers, according to a Senegalese religious organization.
A Senegalese religious organization claims that unidentified attackers struck the bus convoy on Wednesday, killing 18 passengers.
The pilgrims traveled through conflict-ridden areas of northern Burkina Faso and central Mali on their journey from Niger and Nigeria to a religious ceremony in Senegal.
“Eighteen passengers lost their lives during these attacks, and most of the survivors were robbed,” the Medina Baye Mosque in Kaolack, the Senegalese town where the victims were headed, said in a statement on Saturday.
In the statement, the Nigerian presidency stated that it was in contact with the Burkinabe authorities and anxiously awaited the results of their investigation into the incident.
Olivia Rouamba, the foreign minister of Burkina Faso, met with the Nigerian ambassador on Monday to talk about the killings.
“For the time being there is no concrete information or element picked up on the field that proves the veracity of these facts,” Rouamba said in a statement after the meeting.
She continued by saying that due to “high risks” of assaults, the government has severely discouraged travel to the north.
The security situation in Burkina Faso
Armed groups with ties to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS), which escaped from neighboring Mali in 2015, are being fought in Burkina Faso.
Despite expensive international efforts to stop them, rebel fighters have encroached on coastal West African states and extended over the tri-border region between Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
There have been thousands of fatalities, more than two million people have been displaced throughout the Sahel, and food insecurity has worsened as a result of frequent attacks on cities and villages, army positions, and United Nations peacekeepers.