On Sunday, churchgoers gathered in northern Burkina Faso to worship together, as they do every Sunday morning, except this time they were met by armed terrorists.
Colonel Salfo Kabore, the regional governor, explained that the “armed terrorists” entered Pansi, a town in the Yagha province and “attacked the peaceful local population, after having identified them and separated them from non-residents.”
At least 24 people were killed in the attack, including the pastor of the protestant church.
“The provisional toll is 24 killed, including the pastor… 18 wounded and individuals who were kidnapped,” Kabore added.
Sihanri Osangola Brigadie, the mayor of Boundore commune, visited the victims who were hospitalized, 110 miles from the attack.
“It hurt me when I saw the people,” Brigadie said, according to the AP.
According to Al Jazeera, “a resident of the nearby town of Sebba said Pansi villagers fled there for safety.”
Sadly these attacks are not new, nor are they rare. According to a UN report, almost 4,000 people were killed last year in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger in jihadist attacks last year.
Burkina Faso has been a target of the jihadist insurance in Sahel, the land in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south, for years. Over 600,000 people have been forced from their homes since 2015, with many seeking refuge in places like Pansi, only to still be attacked.
While some of the attacks are random acts of violence, many target Christians.
“Perpetrators use victims’ links to government or their faith to justify the killings, while others appear to be reprisal killings for killings by the government security forces,” Corinne Dufka, West Africa director for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
Just last month the Human Rights Watch released a new report detailing the persecution taking place in Burkina Faso.
The facts were disturbing with the attacks surging over the past year. As previously reported by Faithwire, “in 2016, there were just 12 jihadist attacks, in 2017 there were 33 and in 2018 it ramped up to some 158.”
“Armed Islamist groups in Burkina Faso have attacked civilians with unmitigated cruelty and utter disregard for human life,” Dufka explained. “[They are] deliberately targeting farmers, worshippers, mine workers, displaced people and traders are war crimes.”
Faithwire has been reporting heavily on Christian persecution plaguing this small African country ever since it ramped up at the start of 2018. Below are just a few examples of the recent attacks perpetrated against the faith community:
- Four Christians Singled Out for Wearing Crosses, Executed in Northern Burkina Faso
- Four Christians Slaughtered in Latest Attack on Burkina Faso’s Faith Community
- Priest Among Victims in Brutal Attack During Church Service in Burkina Faso
- Four Dead After Another Brutal Attack on Burkina Faso’s Christian Community
Please continue to pray for all those following Jesus in this troubled nation, and other West African countries that are facing persecution.