What Happened: An attack by militants in Burkina Faso's Soum province has killed 24 soldiers and injured seven more, Reuters reported Aug. 20.
Why It Matters: The attack is the deadliest known incident against Burkina Faso's security forces, surpassing a December 2016 assault when militants killed 12 soldiers. The attack also highlights the growing strength of militant groups, including affiliates of al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and their ability to launch large-scale attacks.
Background: The Sahel region has been experiencing a surge in militant activity, most notably in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. An African Union official said that terrorism in the area was leading to an "unprecedented amount of violence," while the World Food Program warned that Burkina Faso is facing a "humanitarian emergency."