Civilians were ordered to leave two large “military interest zones” covering approximately 13,000 square kilometers to the north and southeast.
Burkina Faso’s military has given civilians two weeks to evacuate vast areas in the country’s northern and southeastern regions ahead of military operations against rebels.
The military evacuation order follows a major rebel attack on June 11 that killed at least 100 civilians and displaced thousands more.
The West African country’s military this week ordered civilians to leave two major “military interest zones” to protect them, but did not specify how long they would have to evacuate or where to go.
One of the military zones is a rural area of about 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) bordering Mali in the northern province of Soum. The other military zone covers approximately 11,000 square kilometers on the southern border with Benin and is largely a national park.
“A 14-day delay will be granted to residents to join safer zones,” army spokesman Yves Didier Bamouni said at a news conference on Friday.
“It is very important to be able to distinguish friends from enemies,” he said, without giving further details.
Authorities in Burkina Faso are said to control only 60 percent of the land and the remaining territory is beyond state control, an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediator said last week. , political and socio-economic crisis.
Reuters could not determine how many people live in the areas earmarked for evacuation, although military sources said the government would provide support to the displaced.
The government did not immediately respond to questions.
Burkina Faso has been fighting rebels operating in the region since 2015, some with ties to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS).
The fighting has displaced more than 1.85 million people in Burkina Faso alone and killed thousands in the Sahel.
The military also announced a three-month ban on certain brands of motorcycles and motorized tricycles in parts of eight regions on Friday.
The rule is intended to help the military distinguish civilians from rebels, who have been known to travel and carry out attacks on motorcycles.
No details or timeline for the upcoming military operation have been given.