File Photo: Burkinabe soldiers carry a coffin during the burial of soldiers killed while repelling an attack, the army general staff. AFP
Seventeen soldiers and 36 civilian volunteers for the army died on Monday while repelling an "attack," the army general staff said in a statement.
The unit which came under attack was deployed in the town of Koumbri in Yatenga province to enable the resettlement of residents chased out of the area by jihadists more than two years ago, it said.
About 30 members of the security forces were also injured in the attack, the army added.
It said that several attackers had been "neutralised" in a counter-operation and their combat equipment destroyed.
Operations are still under way in the area, it said.
Burkina Faso saw two military coups last year, motivated by anger at failures to stem a jihadist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives since spilling over from neighbouring Mali in 2015.
More than 16,000 civilians, troops and police have died in jihadist attacks, according to an NGO count, including more than 5,000 since the start of this year.
At least two million people have also been displaced within Burkina Faso, making it one of the worst internal displacement crises in Africa.