By TOUSSAINT N’GOTTA
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Suspected Islamic extremists attacked two security outposts overnight in northern Ivory Coast, killing at least three people and raising fears that jihadists in West Africa are further expanding their reach, authorities said Monday.
About 60 gunmen launched an attack on the army cantonment in Kafolo just before 1 a.m., killing two soldiers and wounding four others, according to an army statement. The military “repelled the attackers after an hour of intense combat,” the army said.
A second attack the same night targeted another outpost in Kologobo, killing a police officer.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, though suspicion immediately fell on Islamic extremists from across the border in Burkina Faso, who frequently target army and police facilities in an effort to obtain weapons.
An earlier attack blamed on jihadists last June in Kafolo killed at least 14 soldiers and one police officer, according to authorities. That was the first major jihadist attack in the West African nation since 2016, when al-Qaida’s North African branch killed at least 19 people at the Grand-Bassam beach resort area.
Fighters affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have staged a growing number of attacks and gained more territory over the past several years in Burkina Faso, and there have been growing concerns over the possible presence of Islamic militants in Ivory Coast.