BURKINO FASO (ANS) — Ten more Christians were killed as a spate of attacks on churches continues in northern Burkina Faso. The ten, dying in two attacks on May 12 and 13, include another Catholic priest.
Four Catholics were attacked on Monday, May 13, returning a statue of Mary to their church in Singa, 25kms from Kongoussi, World Watch Monitor reports, citing news site Fides. Armed men let children go before killing four adults and destroying the statue.
In village of Dablo, 90kms from the city of Kaya, between 20 – 30 armed men stormed a Catholic church in the same region, opening fire on the worshippers. Six people were killed in that attack, among them the 34-year-old priest. The funeral of the victims took place on Monday, attended by representatives from different religious communities, Fides said.
Attackers burned down the church, shops and a health centre, Fides reports.
World Watch Monitor says the attack in Sirgadji village in the north-eastern province of Soum, was not the first against a church in Burkina Faso. Since February two other pastors lost their lives in different attacks.
The violence involves two main ethnic groups: the Fulani, accused of having ties with terrorist groups including the Ansar ul Islam – a homegrown group which emerged in 2016 – and members of the Kouroumba group. 30 people died in the inter-communal clashes in the town while another 32 people were killed in terrorist attacks.
Since then, Islamist militants have taken over a number of villages and towns in the area. They ‘parade’ around freely (most of the time on motorbikes and carrying sophisticated weapons), attacking and killing anyone who does not share their radical Islamist ideology, a local source told World Watch Monitor.
The threat against churches in the area is becoming more and more obvious. A local church leader, who wants to be anonymous for his security, saying: “Christians are now in hiding in the region: no-one dares to sleep in his house overnight, for fear of being killed. It’s very hard for us.”
So far, many Christians are already fleeing to safer towns further south.
The current climate of insecurity dramatically affects the daily activities of communities and churches.
Monday’s attack was condemned by international leaders.
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres tweeted: “Appalled by the news coming from Burkina Faso. Once again, a place of worship is the target of violence. Houses of worship should be havens, not targets.” European Parliament President Antionio Tajani on Twitter said, “the genocide against Christians around the world must stop.”