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Burkina Faso army accused of abuses - watchdog report

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Burkino Faso's security forces of carrying out extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests and other abuses in their campaign against terrorism.

The watchdog's 60-page report says Sahel villagers are caught between security forces, expecting information about the militants, and jihadists, who threaten to execute those who collaborate with the government.

HRW says it documented the execution-style killings of 19 men from 12 villages by armed extremist groups.

Witnesses speaking to the US-based group allege security forces have carried out 14 summary executions and that four other men died in custody from mistreatment.

Burkino Faso's north has been gripped by a jihadist insurgency since 2016, which has killed dozens of people and driven more than 12,000 from their homes.

Defence Minister Jean-Claude Bouda told news agency AFP that he was "aware of certain allegations of abuses".

"The government undertakes to carry out inquiries into all the cases of abuse referred to (in the report) which had not already been brought to its attention," he told AFP.

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