Published: Tue, May 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Priest, 5 others killed in Burkina Faso church attack

Priest, 5 others killed in Burkina Faso church attack

Six people, including a priest, were killed on Sunday, in an attack on a Catholic church in Dablo, northern Burkina Faso, AFP reported.

Five others were murdered when militants opened fire on a local church congregation in the northern town of Dablo as they gathered for mass.

"Towards 9:00am, during mass, armed individuals burst into the Catholic Church", the mayor of Dablo, Ousmane Zongo, told AFP.

Mr Zongo added: "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".

It follows a similar attack on a Christian church last month.

"People are holed up in their homes". Shops and stores are closed. "It's practically a ghost town", he said.

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

One resident of the town told RFI it was the first time the village had been attacked.

In response to the attack, the government condemned the "terrorist groups" who are "attacking religion in an evil plot to divide us". A number of jihadist groups are known to operate the area. The Islamic extremists also have targeted foreigners, abducting and killing a Canadian geologist earlier this year.

He added: "We would like to thank the French authorities and those of Burkina Faso for participating in our liberation, so that we are now very far from all this hell we have been through". In that message, Macron also identified the rescued hostages as French tourists Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas - who were abducted May 1 in Benin.

Burkina Faso has been beset by a rise in attacks in 2019 as groups with links to Islamic State and al Qaeda based in neighbouring Mali seek to fuel local tensions and extend their influence over the porous borders of the Sahel, the arid scrubland south of the Sahara.

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