Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Jihadists killed at least 35 civilians, mostly women, during an attack on a military base in northern Burkina Faso, authorities said.
The attack on the Arbinda, Soum province, military base was carried out Tuesday morning by dozens of jihadists and lasted several hours before the attackers were driven back by the air force and armed forces, resulting in seven soldiers and 80 jihadists killed, the army said.
"A large group of terrorists simultaneously attacked the military base and the civilian population in Arbinda," the army said in a statement.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
President Roch Kabore has declared 48 hours of national mourning "in memory of the civilian and military victims of this Tuesday's terrorist attack."
"I salute the commitment and bravery of our defense and security forces in Arbinda," he said via Twitter.
Government spokesman and Communications Minister Remis Dandjinou confirmed that 31 of the civilian victims were women.
Last month, unidentified assailants attacked a convoy of employees of a Canadian gold mining company in the country, killing 37 people and injuring 60 others.
The attacks come amid a surge in violence in the country that has internally displaced hundreds of thousands of people over the past few months, sparking "an unprecedented humanitarian emergency," the U.N. Refugee Agency said.
According to the U.N., more than 500 people have been killed in over 470 attacks this year and nearly 500,000 people have been displaced due to the violence.
In a tweet Wednesday, Kabore said to use Christmas as a day to offer a "pious thought" to the families of the victims of the attacks that have affected the country.
"On this Christmas Day, let us have a pious thought for the families grieved by the terrorist attacks against our country and let us be in communion with our valiant soldiers who fight with heroism to ensure the security of the national territory," he said. "God bless Burkina Faso."