According to the UN, nearly 4,000 people have been murdered in related terrorist attacks throughout Burkina Faso and the surrounding territories - including neighboring countries Mali and Niger.
By ZACHARY KEYSERPublished: FEBRUARY 17, 2020 14:53Advertisement
Unidentified gunmen murdered 24 people and wounded 18 others in an attack on a Protestant church in the West African country of Burkina Faso, local officials reported.The incident occurred during weekly Sunday services, according to security officials. A resident of Sebba claimed that many of the Pansi villagers fled and took refuge in the nearby town.Colonel Salfo Kabore said that a constituent of "armed terrorist" forced their way into the Pansi village church in the Yagha province and “attacked the peaceful local population, after having identified them, [separating] them from non-residents," according to AFP, adding that "the provisional toll is 24 killed, including the pastor..." with an additional 18 who were wounded and/or kidnapped in the process.Just last week, a group of alleged terrorists kidnapped seven people at the home of a pastor in Sebba. Five of the seven bodies, including the pastor, were found three days later.According to the UN, nearly 4,000 people have been murdered in related terrorist attacks throughout Burkina Faso and the surrounding territories - including neighboring countries Mali and Niger.In December, a similar attack occurred in which at least 14 people were shot dead in an attack on a church in eastern Burkina Faso.The attack took place in the village of Hantoukoura near the border with Niger in the Est region, an area known for banditry that has come under attack over the past year from suspected jihadist groups with links to al-Qaeda and Islamic State.Last year a large Islamist insurgency awoke within Burkina Faso, rendering large parts of the country ungovernable, especially in northern areas bordering restive Mali.The bloodshed is part of a surge in violence due to Islamist insurgency igniting ethnic and religious tensions in the West African country that has killed hundreds, forced nearly a million from their homes and made much of the north ungovernable over the past two years. Christians have become normal targets for these type of attacks.Islamist groups with links to al-Qaeda and Islamic State have carried out increasingly brazen attacks against civilian and military targets in Burkina Faso in recent months, including an attack on a mining convoy in November that killed nearly 40 people.The country was once a pocket of relative calm in the Sahel region, but its homegrown insurgency has been amplified by a spillover of jihadist violence and criminality from its chaotic northern neighbor Mali.In relation, a French soldier died while on operations in Burkina Faso, the French Armed Forces Ministry said in a statement on Monday.The ministry said the causes of the death of Sgt. Morgan Henry were unknown for now and an investigation was underway into the circumstances behind his death.Former colonial power France intervened in the Sahel region, south of the Sahara, back in 2013 to drive back militants who had seized northern Mali the previous year. Fighters have since regrouped and over the past year, militants have stepped up attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.Reuters contributed to this report.
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