Gunmen kill 24 in attack near church in Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Gunmen killed 24 civilians, including a church pastor, and kidnapped three others on Sunday in Burkina Faso, an official said. It was the latest attack against a religious leader in the increasingly unstable West African nation.

The mayor of Boundore commune, Sihanri Osangola Brigadie, said the attack occurred in the town of Pansi in Yagha province. The roughly 20 attackers separated men from women close to a Protestant church. At least 18 other people were injured.

“It hurt me when I saw the people,” Brigadie said after visiting some of the victims in the hospital in Dori town, 180 kilometres (110 miles) from the attack. The gunmen looted oil and rice from shops and forced the three youth they kidnapped to help transport it on their motorbikes, he said.

Both Christians and Muslims were killed before the church was set on fire, said a government security official in Dori who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media.

Attacks have targeted religious leaders in the area in the past. Last week, also in Yagha province, a retired pastor was killed and another pastor was abducted by gunmen, according to an internal security report for aid workers seen by The Associated Press.

Extremist violence has dramatically escalated in once-peaceful Burkina Faso.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack and called for the perpetrators this attack and others that preceded it to be brought to justice, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The U.N. chief reiterated “the commitment of the United Nations to support Burkina Faso in the fight against violent extremism and the achievement of sustainable peace and development,” Dujarric said.

Analysts are concerned that attacks against civilians, including against Christians, are increasing “at an alarming rate,” said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director for Human Rights Watch. “Perpetrators use victims’ links to government or their faith to justify the killings, while others appear to be reprisal killings for killings by the government security forces,” she said.

More than 1,300 civilians were killed in targeted attacks last year in Burkina Faso, more than seven times the previous year, according to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, which collects and analyzes conflict information.

The insecurity has created a humanitarian crisis. More than 760,000 people are internally displaced, according to the government.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer hospital bracing for COVID-19 impact

“We’re all worried about what’s coming, but I think we feel confident”

Non-profits that are helping people impacted by COVID-19 can apply for relief funding

Red Deer and District FCSS can draw from a provincial pot of $30 million

Bank of Canada cuts key interest rate target while Libs up wage subsidy

OTTAWA — Canada’s central bank made yet another unscheduled rate cut Friday… Continue reading

WATCH: COVID-19 doesn’t stop Red Deer Public Library from telling stories

Deb Isbister has been reading stories to children for more than 20… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

A message from Central Alberta Co-op

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge that’s having a real impact… Continue reading

POLL: How would you rate governments’ response to the COVID-19 virus?

How would you rate governments' response to the COVID-19 virus?… Continue reading

Regions brace to fight rising flood waters and cases of COVID-19

Pontiac is one of dozens of flood-prone regions bracing for the possibility of rising waters

Feds working to get 248 Canadians stranded on COVID-19-infected cruise ship home

The federal government is working with the Panamanian government and Holland America

Trudeau says air, train travel to be denied for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms

Boarding of domestic flights and trains will be denied to those showing symptoms related to COVID-19

4 passengers dead aboard cruise ship anchored off Panama

4 passengers dead aboard cruise ship anchored off Panama

Most Read