Third deadly attack on Christians in two weeks after churches hit


La Croix International (15.05.2019) – – Burkino Faso saw its third deadly attack against Christians in two weeks on May 13, when four Catholics were killed by suspected religious extremists during a Marian procession in Ouahigouya Diocese.


Paul Ouedraogo, president of the Catholic bishops’ conference of Burkino Faso and neighboring Niger, confirmed the news of the attack one day later, Reuters reports.


He said a priest in western Niger had also survived being shot in the hand and leg that same Monday, adding: “All of this indicates that our West Africa region is strongly troubled.”


The latest killings occurred as a statue of the Virgin Mary was being taken in procession through the town of Ouahigouya, according to a spokesman for the diocesan cathedral, adding the statue was subsequently torched.


The two previous attacks, in late April and May 12, both occurred on church grounds.


In the former, assailants in the north of the country killed a Protestant pastor and five congregants; in the latter, a Catholic priest and five parishioners were slain by a group of 20 to 30 men after they interrupted Sunday Mass and then burned the church down, also in Burkino Faso.


No group has claimed responsibility for the three attacks, which the government blamed on “terrorist groups…attacking religion with the macabre aim of dividing us.”


The Federation of Islamic Associations of Burkina appealed for calm, urging citizens “without exception for religion or ethnicity…to unite against terrorism.”


The Islamic State and al Qaeda are believed to be behind the rising terrorist attacks in the region as they bolster their ranks by drawing from Muslim herdsman engaged in ethnic conflict with Christian farming communities.

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