On 18 August 2021, suspected Islamist militants engaged in clashes with security personnel in the northern Sahel region. According to the Communications Ministry, a military convoy was ambushed in an area located approximately 25 km (15 mi) from the town of Gorgadji, killing at least 47 people. The fatalities include 30 civilians, 14 soldiers and three members of the Volunteers for the Defense of the Motherland (VDP) anti-jihadist militia group. At least 16 militants were also reportedly killed in the subsequent fighting. Militants linked to transnational terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State have stepped up attacks in the Sahel region since early April; there have been at least two other attacks in the region targeting the Burkinabe military since the beginning of August.