Thursday 23 May 2019

Priest among six killed in gun attack on church

Burkina Faso has been beset by a rise in attacks in 2019. Photo: PA
Burkina Faso has been beset by a rise in attacks in 2019. Photo: PA

Thiam Ndiaga

Gunmen killed six people including a priest outside a Catholic church in Burkina Faso, the second attack on Christians in two weeks in a nation increasingly overrun by jihadists.

Congregants were leaving church around 9am in the town of Dablo in the Central North region when about 20 men encircled them and shot six dead.

The attackers then burned the church, looted stores and left, Dablo mayor Boucary Zongo said.

"These terrorist groups are now attacking religion with the macabre aim of dividing us," a government statement said.

Burkina Faso has been beset by a rise in attacks in 2019 as groups with links to Isil and al-Qa'ida based in neighbouring Mali seek to fuel local tensions and extend their influence over the porous borers of the Sahel, the arid scrubland south of the Sahara.

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

But violence has only worsened since. Two French soldiers were killed in an operation to rescue four people taken hostage in Burkina last week, France said.

In late April, unidentified gunmen killed a pastor and five congregants at a Protestant church, also in the north of the country.

Irish Independent

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