Report: 10 dead in ethnic clashes in Burkina Faso

Mar 3, 2012, 8:00 PM

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) – Ethnic clashes in a southern village of Burkina Faso have left at least 10 people dead, in a dispute over which community has the right to appoint a local chief, state radio reported Saturday.

The report said the violence between the Liliou and the Akonga communities was sparked by a disagreement over the chieftaincy of the village of Guenon, located more than 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of the capital, Ouagadougou.

The Liliou is rejecting the current chief, who is from the Akonga ethnic group. The rivalry culminated Friday when the son of the Akonga chief was killed by the Liliou group. More than 100 houses have been set ablaze, state radio reported. The Akonga sought revenge, killing nine members of the rival community.

Contacted by telephone, Interior Minister Jerome Bougouma said “ancient frustrations have fueled the tension.” He was in Guenon leading a ministerial delegation to plead for peace. Dozens of members of the security forces were deployed to the area to try to prevent further violence.

“The death toll could rise, because the fighting has continued in the bush, where one of the rival groups has found shelter,” Koudougou Ouena, a resident of the locality, told The Associated Press.

Bougouma said the three-person ministerial delegation was able to plead for the burial of the nine victims of the Liliou family.

(This version corrects surname of interior minister.)

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Report: 10 dead in ethnic clashes in Burkina Faso