Dozens of armed unidentified gunmen killed at least 19 and injured 13 others in northern Burkina Faso on Sunday.
A local government official told AFP on the condition of anonymity that the attack occurred between 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and that 19 bodies were found at the time. The official said a search was underway to find others who were killed.
Hours before the gunmen attacked, the source said the gunmen stopped three vehicles in the town of Arbinda and set them on fire. The official detailed that one of the drivers was killed.
The killing in Arbinda comes as armed groups have spread across the Shael region and committed atrocities in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The United Nations reports that the violence has led to the displacement of at least 4.2 million people, 1 million more than in 2018.
In Burkina Faso, innocent lives are being lost due to the rise of jihadist attacks and government counterterror operations.
In April, more than 60 people were killed in an attack in Arbinda which has been hit hard by violence.
“There is no Christian anymore in this town [Arbinda],” an anonymous contact told the Christian aid charity Barnabus Fund. “It’s proven that they were looking for Christians. Families who hide Christians are killed. Arbinda had now lost a total of no less than 100 people within six months.”
Since 2016, armed Islamist groups linked to both al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Islamic State in Greater Sahara have been attacking civilian targets, police stations and military posts in Burkina Faso, according to Human Rights Watch.
Although the violence has spread throughout the country, the “epicenter” of the violence sits in the northern Sahel, a region that borders Mali and Niger.
Contacts told Barnabus Fund that as many as 82 pastors, 1,145 Christians and 151 households have fled from violence in different locations in the Muslim-majority nation.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith