Killed as Gunmen Attack Church in Burkina Faso During Sunday Mass

Killed as Gunmen Attack Church in Burkina Faso During Sunday Mass

A map showing where the two attacks took place.

An attack on a Protestant church about two weeks ago left six people dead.

The attack happened in the northern village of Dablo, located not far from the volatile border with Mali.

But violence has only worsened since.

The operation was ordered to free French hostages Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas who disappeared while on holiday in the remote Pendjari National Park in Benin on May 1.

Roughly 55 to 60 per cent of Burkina Faso's population is Muslim, with up to a quarter Christian. Today's attack comes on the back of a similar one in late April 2019 which also killed five people. The pastor was among those killed in the raid in the small town of Silgadji. "At least two other people are missing", the AFP news agency quoted a source as saying at the time.

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Burkina Faso has seen a surge in killings blamed on jihadists.

On Friday, French special forces carried out a rescue mission in northern Burkina Faso, freeing four hostages.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi mentioned Burkina Faso this month in a video appearance after a five-year silence, praising militant groups in the nation for pledging allegiance to his group and asserting that they would take "revenge for their brothers in Iraq and Syria".

Burkina Faso is part of the vast Sahel region, which has turned into a hotbed of violent extremism and lawlessness since chaos engulfed Libya in 2011.

The United States announced earlier in May that it would double down on efforts to support the government of Burkina Faso, and would provide Burkina Faso's military with guidance on how to better train and manage troops and increase security around key targets.

The landlocked country in northwest Africa has been beset by extremist violence in recent months as Islamist terror groups expand their reach.

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