Gunmen attack Catholic church in Burkina Faso; 6 killed

Gunmen attack Catholic church in Burkina Faso; 6 killed

Last month, gunmen attacked a Protestant church in the town of Silgdji in the north of the country.

Congregants were leaving church around 9 a.m. when about 20 men encircled them and shot six dead, according to a witness and Boucary Zongo, mayor of the northern town of Dablo where the attack took place.

"They started firing as the congregation tried to flee", he told the news agency. It's unknown who is behind the attacks.

It becomes the second attack on a church in a matter of weeks since 2015, the date of the first jihadist attacks on Christian and Muslim facilities in the West African country.

But violence has only worsened since.

The attack came two days after the release of two hostages in Burkina Faso during a daring French special forces military operation that resulted in the deaths of two of their own soldiers.

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Dablo is a village located 90km from Kaya in the north-central part of the country.

The foreigners, who were kidnapped while on a trip through a nature preserve on the border between Burkina Faso and Mali, were held for almost a month before they were rescued.

While it is not yet clear who abducted the group and why, Burkina Faso - once considered a beacon of calm in the otherwise terror-teeming region - has been a growing hotbed for some time.

It formed a regional force, G5 Sahel, along with Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Mali to take on the militants.

The attackers stormed the mass on Sunday morning and then proceeded to set fire to the church and surrounding shops.

A report submitted to the UN Security Council past year warned that security had "deteriorated rapidly over the last six months" in the area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with attacks spreading to eastern Burkina Faso.

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