SIX members of a government-backed civilian militia have been found dead after an ambush in northern Burkina Faso, a local official and a military source said.
The victims, killed on Thursday evening near the village of Dou, were members of the Homeland Defense Volunteers, a group of civilian fighters that receives funds and training from the government to help contain a violent Islamist insurgency.
It was not yet clear who carried out the attack. Groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State operate inside the West African country.
Five of the volunteers were ambushed while searching for a missing colleague who had disappeared following a skirmish with jihadists the day before, the two sources, who requested anonymity, told Reuters. The body of the man who went missing was found near the other bodies.
Vigilante groups have grown rapidly in recent years as instability worsens and the government loses control of large areas of the north and east. There are an estimated 40,000 such groups across Burkina Faso, according to the United Nations.