Five people including a priest are killed in Burkina Faso church attack
- Gunmen on motorbikes entered the church in Silgadji during yesterday’s service
- The priest, Pierre Ouedraogo, and two sons are said to have died in the attack
- The attackers reportedly fled to the north towards the country’s border with Mali
Five people including a priest have died in an apparent jihadist attack on a church in Burkina Faso.
Gunmen on motorbikes entered the church in the town of Silgadji near Djibo, the capital of Soum province, and opened fire near the end of Sunday’s service.
The priest, named as Pierre Ouedraogo, and two of his sons are said to have been killed in the attack.
The attackers then fled to the north towards the country’s border with Mali, according to BBC Africa.
‘Unidentified armed individuals have attacked the Protestant church in Silgadji killing four members of the congregation and the pastor. At least two other people are missing,’ a security source told AFP.
Five people including a priest were killed in an attack on a church Burkina Faso, which has seen a surge in killings blamed on jihadists (file photo, a woman cycles in Ouahigouya)
A member of the church said: ‘The attack happened around 1pm, just as the faithful were leaving the church at the end of the service.
‘The attackers were on motorbikes. They fired in the air before aiming at the members of the congregation.’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit the country later this week.
Sunday’s assault in the small northern town was the first on a church in the impoverished west African nation.
It comes just a week after Islamist fanatics killed hundreds of people at churches and hotels in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.
Burkina Faso has seen a surge in killings blamed on jihadists.
The attacks started in the north of the country before targeting the capital Ouagadougou and other regions, notably the east of the country.
In February, a Spanish priest, Father Cesar Fernandez, was killed in a raid attributed to jihadists in Nohao in the centre of the country.
People ride bicycles and motorbikes around the United Nations roundabout in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which has experienced a series of attacks (file photo)
Violent organisations include the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
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.
Despite international efforts to create a transnational anti-jihadist military operation, named the G5 Sahel force, the situation is getting worse.
A report submitted to the UN Security Council last year warned that security had ‘deteriorated rapidly over the last six months’ in the area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with attacks spreading to eastern Burkina Faso.
According to an official report in September, 229 people had been killed in Islamist attacks in Burkina Faso since 2015, and the number has increased since then.
The growing boldness of jihadist fighters in the former French colony reflects the government’s apparent inability to protect its citizens.