At least 22 killed in jihadist attack on village in Burkina Faso

Burkinabé soldiers patrol in Ouagadougou after the January 2022 coup. Burkinabé soldiers patrol in Ouagadougou after the January 2022 coup. | VOA News (public domain)

No fewer than 22 people were killed in an attack by suspected jihadi terrorists on a village in Burkina Faso on Sunday.

Local Church and government officials have cited 22 confirmed deaths in the July 3 attack on Bourasso, about 14 miles southeast of Nouna. 

A priest from Nouna’s cathedral parish, who said he knew nearly all the victims, told pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need that the attackers “killed 14 people in front of the church.” 

ACN wrote, “Then they went further into the centre of the village and killed 20 others, among them many Christians and followers of traditional African religion.”

One survivor of the attack told ACN that “The terrorists entered the village of Bourasso on motorbikes around 5pm on Sunday 3 July, and went off again without doing anything… But they came back during the night, threatening the villagers in the square in front of the church.”

The villagers asked to be spared, and it is then that the “doubtless several dozen” attackers began to shoot them.

The priest from Nouna said that “These people have nothing to do with politics or terrorist groups. They have nothing to defend themselves with when they are attacked. It’s absolute turmoil.”

“In spite of everything, we keep up our hope. We keep up our courage to live the days that God has given us,” he added. “Here, when you get up, you know that you are alive, but you don’t know if you will still be alive in the evening”.

AFP reported that another attack by suspected jihadists killed 12 people in Namissiguima, in Yatenga province, on July 2.

Burkina Faso, located in West Africa, has seen an increase in Islamist violence in recent years. 

A coup took place in the country in January, and the new president has emphasized the importance of restoring security.

The new head of the Burkinabé armed forces, David Kabre, said Feb. 9, “My taking over command coincides with a badly degraded security situation marked by the resurgence of terrorist attacks in several parts of the country,” AFP reported.

An American nun, Sister Suellen Tennyson, 83, was abducted from her community in Yalgo Parish of the Diocese of Kaya in April.

A minor seminary near Fada N’gourma was attacked and damaged in February.

Several churches were attacked in 2019, and last year the body of a missing priest was found in a forest.

In December 2019 Bishop Justin Kientega of Ouahigouya said one such church attack was part of an attempt by radical Islamists to "provoke a conflict between the religions in a country where Christians and Muslims have always lived peaceably side by side."

About 60 percent of the Burkinabé population is Muslim, 23 percent is Christian (most of whom are Catholic), and 15 percent follow traditional indigenous beliefs.

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