Republic of Burkina Faso: Twelve terror suspects with ties to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State found dead in their cells

May 14, 2020

A dozen detained fighters with alleged ties to al-Qaeda and ISIS have been found dead in their cells in Burkina Faso.

According to the prosecutor for the town of Fada N’Gourma, 25 people had been arrested Monday night, and “unfortunately, 12 of them have died during the course of the night in the cells they were being held in.”

Security sources told AFP news the suspected terrorists may have died of asphyxiation, although an official cause of death has yet been confirmed.

Authorities said an investigation is underway.

The majority of the 12 dead men were ethnic Fulas, an alleged jihadist group.

This is not the first time suspected criminals are found deal in their cells in the small African nation.

On May 2, a Fula teacher accused of being connected to terrorists was found dead in a police station in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, according to a local human rights organization.

On 9 April, 31 unarmed detainees were allegedly executed by Burkina Faso security forces in the northern town of Djibo, just hours after being arrested, according to the Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In July 2019, 11 people suspected of drug trafficking were found dead in a cell belonging to the national police’s drugs squad.

Sahel director at HRW, Corinne Dufka, said that Burkina Faso’s counter-terrorism operations “may amount to a war crime and could fuel further atrocities”.

The country’s ongoing war between Muslim Jihadists and security forces have killed an estimated 300 civilians and several hundred alleged terrorist supporters.

Burkina Faso is located in West Africa, and is surrounded by six countries: Mali, Niger, Benin, Tago, Ghana, and Ivory coast.

The nation of 20.3 million people covers an area of approximately 105,900 sq mi (274,200 square kilometres), roughly the size of Colorado, U.S.A.