Gunmen kill six in second church attack in Burkina Faso

14 May, 2019, 03:59 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Burkina Faso church attack

Armed attackers killed a priest and five worshippers during mass on Sunday in an attack on a Catholic church in northern Burkina Faso.

"Towards 9:00am, during mass, armed individuals burst into the Catholic Church", the mayor of Dablo, Ousmane Zongo, told global press in a statement.

The militants also set on fire nearby shops and a health centre, a government official said.

The attack comes two days after the release of four hostages in northern Burkina Faso by French special forces in a daring night-time raid. "It's practically a ghost town", he added.

Former colonial ruler France has deployed 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad to help local forces flush out jihadist groups.

The attacks took place in Dablo located in the Sanmatenga Province in the country's center.

The government declared a state of emergency in several northern provinces bordering Mali in December because of deadly Islamist attacks.

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One of the French hostages, Laurent Lassimouillas said: "All our thoughts go out to the families of the soldiers and to the soldiers".

Roughly 55% to 60% of Burkina Faso's population is Muslim, with up to a quarter Christian.

But violence has only worsened since. The April attack was the first attack on a church since 2015.

Five churchgoers were killed along with the priest.

Fighters affiliated to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group as well as the local Ansarul Islam have been active in the region.

Merkel pledged millions in financial support for the restive Sahel region shortly after meeting with Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore in the capital, Ouagadougou.

A report submitted to the UN Security Council past year warned that security had "deteriorated rapidly over the last six months" in the area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with attacks spreading to eastern Burkina Faso.

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