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UN Calls for Burkina Faso Refugee Aid

FILE - Burkina Faso refugees are seen at a shelter in Tougbo on Jan. 22, 2022. Thousands of people who fled to Ivory Coast from jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso are living in limbo.

The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) called on Friday for urgent support to some 16,000 newly displaced people who fled one of Burkina Faso's deadliest militant attacks last weekend that left at least 100 people dead.

UN spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh announced Friday that "UNHCR is alarmed at the recent escalation of violence against civilians by armed groups in Burkina Faso that has forced thousands to flee, placing humanitarian resources under strain as insecurity continues to plague the central Sahel."

He said that since June 12, thousands of mostly women and children have arrived in the town of Dori in eastern Burkina Faso, after fleeing the attack.

Soldiers have so far recovered 79 bodies after an attack on Saturday night in the northern province of Seno. It was the deadliest attack in at least a year in the West African country, which is battling an insurgency by groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State

No one has claimed responsibility for that attack.

The Sahel region has seen a growing presence of insurgents ranging from political opponents to elements of the Islamic State in the past several years, unsettling the entire area across borders.