The government of Burkina Faso and the United Nations said the attack, which killed more than 130 people earlier this month, was carried out primarily by children aged 12 to 14.
Armed children raided the village of Solhan on the evening of June 4, opened fire on residents. It was the worst attack in years in an area plagued by jihadists linked to Islamic State and al-Qaeda, the government said in a statement.
They also burned homes and the market, the government added.
Government spokesman Ousseni Tamboura said the majority of the attackers were children, prompting condemnation from the U.N.
‘We strongly condemn the recruitment of children and adolescents by non-state armed groups. This is a grave violation of their fundamental rights,’ the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said in a statement on June 24.
Nearly 800 people fled in the immediate aftermath of the attack to the nearby town of Sebba.
Despite interventions from U.N. peacekeepers and international armed forces, attacks by Islamist extremists continue unabated across West Africa’s Sahel region, including neighbouring Mali and Niger.
In March, attackers killed 137 people in coordinated raids on villages in southwestern Niger.