OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Burkina Faso’s government says gunmen have killed two policemen who were patrolling a market in the West African nation’s northern Baraboule district.

The government said Monday that police troops and anti-terrorist forces have been sent and are searching the area near Petegoli in Soum Province in search of the assailants.

Soum province is home to radicalized preacher Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who vowed to close all government administration in the north. His men have forced schools to close in several rural areas in Soum province.

The killings come amid mounting violence near Burkina Faso’s border with Mali. Last week 26 people died after their truck hit explosives in Mali.

Extremists seem to be stepping up attacks after vows to prevent the deployment of a force of neighboring countries to fight extremism.

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