Twenty-one people, most of them members of the security forces, have been killed in Burkina Faso in attacks by suspected jihadists.

Fourteen members of the VDP volunteer militia and four soldiers died on Monday in Sawenga in central-eastern Burkina, while five were wounded.

Security sources confirmed the toll, saying the clash occurred during an operation to secure the area, and that more than 50 terrorists were neutralized in an airborne counter-attack.

One of the poorest and most troubled countries in the world, Burkina Faso is struggling with a jihadist insurgency that swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

Nearly a third of the country lies outside the government’s control with more than 10,000 civilians, troops and police killed while at least two million people have been displaced.