Four Christians have been killed in the latest spree of killing perpetrated against the faith community of Burkina Faso. The East African nation has been racked with religious violence in recent months, as Islamic Militants linked with both ISIS and al-Qaeda continue to target followers of Jesus with brutal violence.
On Sunday, a heavily armed gang attacked a congregation as they worshipped in a church located in the town of Toulfe, which is roughly 150 miles North-west of the nation’s capital, Ouagadougou.
According to Christian Persecution charity, Barnabus Fund, the attack
“caused panic in the village and many residents sought to seek cover in their homes or in the bush.”
Four congregants were confirmed dead as a result of the vicious assault.
“The Christian community of Toulfe was the target of a terorist attack which gathered for Sunday prayers. The attack left four of the faithful dead,” the Bishop of Ouahigouya, Justin Kientega, said in a statement, according to France 24.
Ouahigouya went on to urge the Christian community to “pray for peace and the conversion of the executioners.”
According to the National Catholic Reporter, government officials have said they suspect the perpetrators originated from neighboring Mali, with one source telling the Vatican-based Fides agency that the terrorists were seeking to “strike leaders of the local faith community.”
The uptick in anti-Christian violence across the troubled nation has been absolutely staggering. Earlier this month, five believers were shot dead in the town of Dablo as they gathered to worship. In addition, last month, six people were slaughtered at a church in the town of Silgadji. The statistics speak for themselves: in 2016, there were just 12 jihadist attacks, in 2017 there were 33 and in 2018 it ramped up to some 158.
The government has continued to condemn the “terrorist groups” who they say are “attacking religion in an evil plot to divide us.”
Around 60% of Burkina Faso’s population is Muslim, while only around 20% practice Christianity.