At least 51 people have been killed in northern Mali by armed Islamic jihadists, who attacked and burned three villages near the border with Niger, in the latest instance of violence to beset the Sahel region.

The villages of Ouatagouna, Karou, and Deouteguef were attacked in a coordinated assault by jihadists on motorcycles at about 6 p.m. on Sunday, according to a government official.

“The terrorists went into the villages and massacred everyone,” a military officer, asking not to be identified, told AFP. “More than 40 civilians were killed,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, in Burkina Faso, a military convoy was ambushed around 3 p.m. local time. In the attack, which happened near the border with Mali close to the village of Dounkoun in Toeni district, 12 troops were killed and eight others were wounded. Several vehicles were destroyed.