Suspected militants attacked a village in northern Burkina Faso overnight, killing nearly 20 people, local media reported Sunday, citing authorities.
At least 18 civilians were killed by armed individuals in Bani village in Seno province in the Sahel Region, the report said, quoting a statement from the province.
The attackers were heavily armed and on motorbikes.
There is panic in the village and the surrounding area, it said, adding local residents were fleeing the area towards the center-northern part of the country.
Deadly attacks on civilians have increased in recent weeks in Burkina Faso.
Lawmakers passed a law in January allowing the recruitment of civilian volunteers to defend the country.
Media reports indicated that militants had warned residents to leave the area a few days earlier.
The attack comes a week after several similar attacks in the north of the country.
On Jan. 25, 39 civilians were killed in an attack on Silgadji village in the neighboring province of Soum, northwest of Seno.
UN figures show that militant attacks in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso killed 4,000 people in 2019, causing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis as 600,000 residents were forced to flee their homes.
France announced Sunday that it is deploying 600 additional troops to the Sahel region.
In a statement, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said most of the reinforcements will be deployed at the borders between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
Source: Anadolu Agency