Twenty-four killed in Burkina Faso church attack: governor
February 17, 2020 04:13 PM
Gunmen have killed 24 people and wounded 18 in an attack on a Protestant church in a village in northern Burkina Faso, the regional governor said Monday.
A group of "armed terrorists" burst into the village of Pansi, in Yagha province "and attacked the peaceful local population after having identified them and separated them from non-residents", Colonel Salfo Kabore said in a statement sent to AFP.
The assault occurred on Sunday during a weekly service, security officials said. "The provisional toll is 24 killed, including the pastor... 18 wounded and individuals who were kidnapped," Kabore said.
A resident of the nearby town of Sebba said Pansi villagers had fled there for safety. One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso is on the front line of a jihadist insurgency advancing in the Sahel.
Since 2015, around 750 people have been killed in Burkina and around 600,000 people have fled their homes. Christians and churches have become frequent targets in the north of the country.
On February 10, suspected jihadists in Sebba seized seven people at the home of a pastor. Five bodies were found three days later, including the pastor, according to the local governor. According to UN figures, jihadist attacks in Burkina and neighbouring Mali and Niger left nearly 4,000 people dead last year.
Their armed forces are weak, struggling with poor equipment and lack of training and funding.