Human rights advocates say attacks targeting Christians in Burkina Faso are growing “at an alarming rate” after a weekend assault that left 24 dead including a pastor.
Gunmen killed 24 people and leaving 18 wounded in an attack on a Protestant church in a village near northern Burkina Faso where jihadists often target Christians population.
According to security officials, the attack came during a weekly ritual at a Protestant church on Sunday.
The officials in the West African country announced Monday that, about 20 terrorists segregated men from women in a church before killing Christians and Muslims and setting the building on fire.
Corinne Dufka, director of Human Rights Watch, told “To justify the killings, the perpetrators use the connections of victims with the government or their religion, while others tend to be oppressive killings by government security forces,”.
Across northern provinces, Christians and churches have become regular targets by armed Islamists.
Last week in the province of Yagha, where the attack on Sunday unfolded, a retired pastor was assassinated and another pastor was abducted by gunmen, according to the Associated Press.
According to Sihanri Osangola Brigadie, the mayor of Boundore commune, the gunmen along with killing people in Sunday’s shooting, stole oil and rice from shops and forced three young people they abducted to help transport it on their motorbikes.
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 in Burkina roughly 750 people have been murdered and about 600,000 people have displaced from their homes.
Also in the north of the country, five soldiers were killed on Sunday when their vehicle struck with an improvised explosive device near Banh, in Loroum province, security sources said. This proves that the armed forces lack training and the required funding to combat these terrorists.
Thirty people including seven school children have died in four attacks by highway bombs in Burkina Faso since the beginning of the year, a toll confirmed.
Jihadist attacks in Burkina and neighboring Mali and Niger have left almost 4,000 people dead last year, according to UN estimates.
“When I saw the people it hurt me,” Brigadie said after visiting some of the victims at the Dori town hospital, 110 miles from the attack.
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