Four killed in attack on parish in Burkina Faso

A man drives past a church in the city of Ouahigouya northern Bukina Faso Oct 30 2018 Credit Issouf Sanogo AFP Getty Images A man drives past a church in Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso. | Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images.

Four people were killed Sunday during an attack on a Catholic church in Burkina Faso. There have been several such attacks in the west African country in recent weeks.

"The small Christian community of Toulfé was the victim of a terrorist attack this Sunday, 26 May 2019. Armed individuals burst into the Church and opened fire on the community gathered for Sunday prayers causing the death of 4 persons, and wounding more," said Bishop Justin Kientega of Ouahigouya.

Those killed in the attack in Toulfé, about 40 miles northeast of Ouahigouya, were Bruno Yampa, a retired catechist, and Simon, Michel, and Louis Ganame. Laurent Yampa, a catechist, was among the wounded.

"Let us unite our prayers for the repose in God of the martyrs, for a prompt recovery of the wounded, for the consolation of the weeping families, for the conversion of the tormenters and for peace in our country of Burkina Faso," Bishop Kientaga added.

A local told AFP that the attack "caused panic in the village and many residents sought to seek cover in their homes or in the bush."

Bishop Kientaga noted it was the second such attack in the diocese in less than a month. Gunmen had interrupted a procession in Singa, about 70 miles southeast of Ouahigouya, May 13. Four people were killed in that attack as well, and a Marian statue was burned.

A group of 20-30 armed men attacked a parish in Dablo during Mass May 12, killing six, and four died in an April 5 attack on a parish in the Diocese of Dori. Fr. Joel Yougbaré, pastor of Djibo, was kidnapped in March.

Six were killed in an April 29 attack on a Protestant church in Silgadji.

Attacks by jihadist groups have increased since 2015, and AFP reported that almost 400 people have been killed in the past four years. The groups include Ansarul Islam, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

Last December, the government declared a state of emergency in several northern provinces as a result of these ongoing attacks, Reuters reports.

Human Rights Watch recently reported that the violence has displaced tens of thousands of villagers this year alone.

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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