Ivoirian forces captured an extremist leader and a large number of fighters responsible for an attack on a border post.
Defence Minister Hamed Bakayoko did not name the suspected terrorist but said he was responsible for a June 11, 2020, attack at the border with Burkina Faso that left 14 military personnel dead and six wounded, according to an Al-Jazeera report. The predawn attack has been attributed to the Group to Support Islam and Muslims. It was the first major attack on Ivoirian soil since 2016 and came shortly after a joint Ivoirian-Burkinabe mission to rid the border region of extremists.
“We will go further as the investigation progresses,” Bakayoko said. “We will know who he was in contact with, who is behind it.”
Bakayoko credited the arrests of people who took part in the assault to photos retrieved from mobile phones.
On June 18, the Ivoirian Army said it had carried out a sweep in the Kafolo area and in the neighboring Camoe National Park, a reputed haven for extremists. Troops picked up 27 people, destroyed logistical material and seized communications equipment.
The attack on Kafolo shook Côte d’Ivoire, which only recently has returned to stability after a decade of turbulence. The June 11 attack took place in the same zone where the two countries launched a groundbreaking joint operation in May to flush out extremists.
Operation Comoe, named after a river that flows through the two countries, led to the death of eight suspected terrorists, the capture of 38 others and the destruction of a terrorist base at Alidougou in Burkina Faso, the Ivoirian Army said on May 24, 2020.