Burkina Faso military leader takes over defence portfolio in cabinet reshuffle

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FILE PHOTO - Burkina Faso's military leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, visits Ivory Coast

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Burkina Faso’s military leader Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba has taken over the defence portfolio in the West African nation struggling with an ongoing Islamist insurgency, a statement read on national television on Monday evening said.

The statement did not give reasons for the cabinet reshuffle.

Damiba seized power in January citing the previous government’s inability to tackle the country’s problems, including the insurgency that has killed thousands and displaced more than 2 million including in neighbouring in Mali and Niger.

Attacks by militants linked to Islamic State and al Qaeda have continued unabated since the coup. At least 35 civilians were killed and 37 injured last week when a vehicle in a convoy hit an improvised explosive device.

Earlier on Monday, the army said two soldiers were killed and around a dozen were injured in attack on a military unit in the north of the country near the Malian border. It added that around a dozen armed assailants were killed in the attack.

(Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga and Anne Mimault; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


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