Published: Tue, May 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Gunmen kill six in Catholic church in Burkina Faso

Gunmen kill six in Catholic church in Burkina Faso

Gunmen killed at least six people at a Catholic church in the West African nation of Burkina Faso on Sunday and then torched the worship space, town officials told local reporters. "They started firing as the churchgoers tried to flee".

The attackers, said to number between 20 and 30, then burned down the church. "The priest, who was celebrating mass, was also killed".

Zongo said there was "an atmosphere of panic in the town". People are holed up at home. Nothing is going on. The shops and stores are closed. "It's practically a ghost town".

Security reinforcements were sent from Barsalogho, about 45 kilometres south of Dablo, and were combing the area, a security source told AFP.

The attackers opened fire on the faithful at the beginning of Mass in the village of Dablo, 90 km from Kaya, according to FRANCE 24's sister radio station, RFI.

"These terrorist groups are now attacking religion with the macabre aim of dividing us", the statement said.

The attack came just days after two French soldiers were killed during an operation to rescue two hostages in the troubled nation.

One of the French hostages, Laurent Lassimouillas said: "All our thoughts go out to the families of the soldiers and to the soldiers".

The other two hostages from the US and South Korean have not been named.

Merkel pledged millions in financial support for the restive Sahel region shortly after meeting with Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Almost 400 people have been killed since 2015 - mainly in hit-and-run raids - according to an AFP tally. The Islamic extremists also have targeted foreigners, abducting and killing a Canadian geologist earlier this year.

Another attack on a Christian church in the region last month after Sunday services left six dead, including a pastor.

On Friday, French special forces carried out a rescue mission in northern Burkina Faso, freeing four hostages.

But violence has only worsened since.

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