At least 44 people have been killed by Islamic extremists in attacks in northern Burkina Faso, the government has said.
Jihadis launched “despicable and barbaric” attacks on the Kourakou and Tondobi villages in Seno province on Thursday and Friday, said Lt Col PF Rodolphe Sorgho, governor of the Sahel region.
He said the government was stabilising the area and called on people to remain calm.
The Sahel region of Burkina Faso has been overrun by Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that have carried out repeated attacks, killing thousands and displacing two million people over six years.
It is not clear which group carried out the attacks.
The fighting has frustrated and divided the population, leading to two military coups in 2022, with each junta leader vowing to stop the attacks.
But the violence has intensified and spread as jihadis blockade villages, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from moving freely.
In February, IS claimed responsibility for killing more than 70 soldiers, wounding dozens and taking five hostage in an ambush on a military convoy in the north.
A few weeks earlier, jihadis killed at least 32 people, including soldiers and civilians, in multiple multiple attacks across the country.
The violence has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the country’s history, leaving one in five citizens – some 4.7 million people – in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations.