Saturday, July 13, 2024

Burkina Faso: Gunmen kill 15 Catholic worshippers

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

Gunmen have killed at least 15 Catholic worshippers in a village in Burkina Faso. The gunmen attacked the worshipers when they gathered in the country’s conflict-hit northern region.

The deceased include 12 attendees who died at the scene, and three others who died later as they were being treated for their wounds.

Officials of the Catholic church have described Sunday’s violence in the village of Essakane as a “terrorist attack”.

A statement issued by Abbot Jean-Pierre Sawadogo, vicar-general of the Catholic Diocese of Dori said two others were injured in the attack.

“In this painful circumstance, we invite you to pray for the rest in God for those who have died in faith, for the healing of the wounded and … for the conversion of those who continue to sow death and desolation in our country,” the statement said.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting.

Wave of attacks 

The shooting took place in a region where armed groups have carried out several attacks. Whereas some have targeted Christian churches, others have involved the abduction of clergy.

About half of Burkina Faso is outside government control, as armed groups have ravaged the country for years. Fighters have killed thousands and displaced more than two million people, further threatening the stability of the nation, which experienced two coups in 2022.

The country’s military rulers have struggled to restore peace in violent areas since the first coup in January 2022.

The number of people killed by armed groups has nearly tripled compared with the 18 previous months, according to an August 2023 report by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

The security situation has been worsened by the country’s porous borders with Mali and Niger, both of which are also run by military officials and also struggle with security crises.


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