The Islamic State on Saturday said it had staged a midweek ambush of soldiers in Burkina Faso ahead of elections this month.
The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, in a message carried on its Amaq news outlet and on social media, said it killed 20 soldiers traveling in a convoy Wednesday in Tin-Akoff in Oudalan province.
A rival group, the Jihadist Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), had claimed responsibility Friday in social media posts.
A government spokesman Thursday put the death toll at 14 while blaming “armed terrorist groups.”
The attack took place in the country’s north, near the border with Mali and Niger, and came ahead of presidential and legislative elections scheduled for November 22.
The latest bout of violence has seen several candidates, including incumbent President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, suspend campaigning for two days.
The unrest will prevent residents of almost 1,500 villages out of 8,000 in the country from taking part in the vote.
But in September, parliament passed a law allowing the results to be validated even if polling did not take place everywhere.
The Burkinabe armed forces have suffered a spate of attacks. In the worst, 24 soldiers were killed at a military base in Koutougou in the north in August 2019.
The jihadists have been making incursions from neighboring Mali since 2015 and have killed at least 1,200 people while forcing more than a million from their homes.
Source: Voice of America