Suspected Muslim extremists launched an attack on a church in eastern Burkina Faso on Sunday morning, killing at least 14 people and wounding several others, the government said.
The attack took place in the village of Hantoukoura near the border with Niger in the East region, according to a report from the AFP news agency. After spraying bullets into the congregation during the Sunday service, the assailants fled on motorbikes.
A security source told the outlet that armed individuals carried out the attack, “executing the faithful including the pastor and children.”
On Sunday, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore announced the news on Twitter and condemned “the barbaric attack” in the town of Hantoukoura. He said several people also were wounded.
Kabore offered his “deepest condolences to the bereaved families and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.”
Burkina Faso’s armed forces were caring for the wounded and searching the area, the government also said in a statement.
While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, fighters linked to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda have carried out attacks on police stations, military posts, and civilian targets in Burkina Faso since 2015, according to Human Rights Watch. While jihadists have launched attacks across the country’s north for years, they recently have struck in the east as well.
According to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, such attacks have quadrupled over the last two years in Burkina Faso and left dozens dead this year alone. Additionally, an estimated 500,000 people have been forced from their homes amid the unrest, according to the United Nations.
Sunday’s massacre follows a series of attacks by radical Islamist insurgents against Christians in the embattled West African country. The country of 19 million is about two-thirds Muslim, with a Christian minority.
In June, gunmen stormed a village in northern Burkina Faso and ordered people who had been chatting outside to lie down. The armed assailants then executed four Christians found to be wearing crucifixes around their necks.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett