Raiders kill at least 15 worshippers at Burkina church

OUAGADOUGOU  -  At least 15 civilians were killed and two others injured during a “terrorist” at­tack on a Catholic church during Sun­day mass in northern Burkina Faso, a senior church official said. “We bring to your attention a terrorist attack which the Catholic community of Essakane vil­lage was the victim of today, February 25, while they were gathered for Sun­day prayer,” the vicar of the Dori dio­cese, Jean-Pierre Sawadogo, said in a statement sent to AFP. The provision­al toll was 15 killed and two wounded, he added. Calling for peace and security in Burkina Faso, Sawadogo denounced “those who continue to wreak death and desolation in our country”.

Essakane village, where the attack took place, is in what is known as the “three borders” zone in the northeast of the country, near the common bor­ders of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. This is just the latest in a series of atroc­ities blamed on militant groups active in the region, some of which have targeted Christian churches while others have in­volved the abduction of clergy.

Burkina Faso is part of the vast Sa­hel region, which has been locked in a battle against rising violent extremism since Libya’s civil war in 2011.

The militant insurgency spilled over into Burkina Faso and Niger from 2015.

When Captain Ibrahim Traore seized power in 2022, it was the country’s second coup in less than a year -- both triggered in part by discontent at the government’s failures to quell the mili­tant violence.

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