More than 600 Burkinabè have taken refuge in recent days in northern Togo, fleeing jihadist attacks in southeastern Burkina Faso, Togo’s National Civil Protection Agency (ANPC) said on Wednesday.

A total of 602 Burkinabè refugees, from Madjoari, in the south-east of Burkina, have been identified in the prefecture of Tône, in the far north of Togo, explained the police commissioner Aboudou Kérim Nimon, head of antenna of the ANPC in Dapaong (capital of Tône).

“They fled their localities, leaving everything behind. There are children and pregnant women,” he said. “These refugees are all hosted by host families,” said the source, adding that food and financial aid had been distributed to them.

More than 2000 dead

Among these refugees is the former mayor of Madjoari. This town, located more than a hundred kilometers from the border with Togo, and which has between 15 and 20,000 inhabitants, is placed under blockade by the jihadists who strike eastern Burkina.

The army sometimes manages to send supply convoys there. But when this is not the case, destitute and desperate inhabitants try to flee. On May 25, about fifty inhabitants of this locality who tried to leave it were killed by the jihadists, according to the authorities. This attack followed several others recorded recently in Madjoari against soldiers and civilians.

Burkina Faso, in particular the north and the east, has been hit for seven years by movements affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State which have killed more than 2,000 civilians and soldiers, and nearly two million moved.

In addition to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are struggling with jihadist insurgencies and neighboring states such as Benin, Ghana, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire are worried about overflows on their territory.

A recent series of border raids in these countries south of the Sahel has confirmed fears that jihadist groups in the region are seeking to advance towards the coast. The Togolese government on Monday declared a “state of security emergency” in the Savanes region, an area located in the far north of the country which recently recorded these first two jihadist attacks.

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