Locals say they live in fear of violence and face harsh punishment for breaking rules

When a stranger arrives in Bartiébougou, the Kalashnikov-wielding men in charge check his ID. But first they check his forehead. They are looking for the indent left by a beret – an instant indication he is a soldier and therefore an enemy spy.

Like much of eastern Burkina Faso, the government has no control over what happens in Bartiébougou; local militants, backed by west African extremist groups, do.

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