The latest case of 12 extrajudicial killings of Fulani men in Tanwalbougou, northeastern Burkina Faso, has gripped the public after gruesome details emerged following their detention by gendarmes in the area, adding to the overall crisis in the Sahel.
Although the military has issued a statement admitting that 12 of the Fulani (also called Peul) men, arrested on suspicion of terrorism, died in military cells, a number of the facts are in dispute.
Human rights groups including Burkinabé groups, the Collective Against Impunity and Stigmatisation of Communities (CISC) and MBDHP as well as US-based Human Rights Watch, are calling for an independent investigation into the Burkina Faso gendarmes.
"Another part of it is a lack of effective control over security forces, and either a lack of means to effectively punish the people who perpetrate these attacks, or the lack of political will, either from military leadership or civilian governments to police these military," he adds.
Killing of 31 Fulani in Burkina Faso could be war crime, says HRW
Part of the issue stems from the overall perception that the Fulani communities in the Sahel, including northern Burkina Faso, have traditionally been a much-maligned community, and therefore jihadist groups in the area have exploited these prejudices, recruiting a number of people in the community, especially after alleged military massacres.