It’s not official yet. But considering the history of similar attacks in Burkina Faso, we can be reasonably confident that it isn’t the Amish or the Buddhists.
A Catholic church in north-central Burkina Faso was attacked by armed men on Sunday morning, leaving at least six people, including the priest, dead, Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported.
The attackers opened fire on the faithful at the beginning of Mass in the village of Dablo, 90 km from Kaya, according to FRANCE 24’s sister radio station, RFI.
“Towards 9:00am, during mass, armed individuals burst into the Catholic Church,” the mayor of Dablo, Ousmane Zongo, told AFP. “They started firing as the congregation tried to flee.”
The attack is believed to have been carried out by a “group of some twenty to thirty armed men”, according to a security source.“They burned down the church, then shops and a small restaurant before going to the health centre where they searched the premises and set fire to the head nurse’s vehicle,” Mr. Zongo said. “The city is filled with panic. People are holed up at home. Shops and stores are closed. It’s practically a ghost town.”
Burkina Faso has witnessed increasingly frequent and deadly terrorist attacks over the past four years, attributed to jihadist groups such as Ansarul Islam, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and the Islamic State in the Great Sahara (EIGS).
This is one of a string of similar attacks on churches in Burkina Faso.
Here’s another recent attack from the end of April.
Sunday’s shooting at an Assemblies of God congregation in a northern village left six people dead, including the pastor, and represents the first church attack among the recent surge of Islamist violence.
A dozen gunmen on motorcycles stormed the courtyard of the Sirgadji church after worship, fatally shooting its longtime pastor as well as five other congregants after demanding they convert to Islam, according to a statement sent to CT by the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Burkina Faso, Michel Ouédraogo. The attackers also stole from the church and burned its pulpit.
The church was one of the oldest Protestant congregations in the region, which borders Mali to the north, and pastor Pierre Ouédraogo had served there since its founding in the 1980s. The longtime pastor had sensed danger, but told family members “he prefers to die for his faith rather than leave the village where he has served for nearly 40 years,” said his son-in-law, according to the AG statement.
Burkina Faso is a Muslim majority country and in the most recent attack, there were complaints that soldiers deployed nearby had failed to intervene.
This is what Islamic ethnic cleansing looks like. And it’s taking place across Africa.
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