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Catholic Church in Burkina Faso Condoles with Protestants after Sunday Attack

Catholics pray for peace in Burkina Faso at the Shrine of Our Lady of Yagma on November 24, 2019

Following the Sunday attack on a Protestant church in Burkina Faso that left 14 people dead and several others injured, the Catholic Church in the West African nation has expressed its closeness with the victims of the attack and their families, praying for lasting peace in the country.

“It is with deep sadness that the Catholic Church learned of the death of fourteen Protestant worshippers, including "children", who were killed on Sunday, December 1, 2019, during an attack on their place of worship in Hantoukoura, Foutouri Council, during a religious service,” the Communication officer for the Bishops’ Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger Fr. Paul Dah said in a statement sent to ACI Africa Monday, December 2.

“Deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident, the Church associates herself with the sorrow of the Federation of Evangelical Churches and Missions of Burkina Faso. She sends her sincere condolences and her communion of prayer for the repose of the soul of the deceased faithful and the comfort of all those who are aggrieved by these killings,” Fr. Dah stated.

In the statement, the Burkinabe cleric expressed the hope that the just started Advent season will offer the people of Burkina Faso “the opportunity to build peace together in our country, in our sub-region and in the world.”

According to a statement from the governor of the Fada N'Gourma region in the east where the attack occurred, “a dozen heavily armed individuals, on motorcycles, executed in cold blood Christians, including the pastor of the church and children; several people were injured, some of them seriously.” 

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The December 1 attack is the fifth in a series of attacks on Christian places of worship since April this year. On April 28, armed terrorists groups stormed a Protestant church in Silgadji, in the northern province of Soum, killing the pastor, two of his sons and three followers.

Two weeks later, on May 12, a priest from the diocese of Kaya and five Christians were killed by terrorists in the church of Dablo, still in the north of the country.

On May 13, while the funerals of the priest and the five faithful murdered the previous day were being held, four other faithful were killed during the Marian procession at the parish of Notre-Dame du Lac in the neighboring diocese of Ouahigouya, in the province of Bam.

On May 26, jihadists attacked the Catholic Church of Toulfé, in Loroum province in northern Burkina Faso, killing four people.

While a Salesian missionary of Spamish origin Fr César Fernandez was killed in central Burkina Faso on February 15, a priest from Djibo in the north, Fr Joël Yougbaré, who was kidnapped by armed individuals in March has been missing.

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According to reports, at least

700 people have died in terrorism-related attacks in Burkina faso since 2015, while more than 500,000 people have fled their homes in the North and East due to repeated attacks. Responding to the Sunday attack, the Defense and Security Forces in Burkina Faso launched an operation to bring aid to those injured and to secure the area with the government calling on the population “to be vigilant”, at the same time reassuring the country of the security agencies’ commitment to bringing peace to the West African landlocked country.