Gunmen have killed six people including a priest as Mass was being celebrated in a church in Dablo in northern Burkina Faso, officials say.
BBC reports that the attackers, said to number between 20 and 30, then burned down the church.
The town’s mayor, Ousmane Zongo, said that there was panic as other buildings were burned down and a health centre looted. Jihadist violence has flared in Burkina Faso since 2016, and this is the third attack on a church in five weeks.
The Guardian reports that towards 9am, during mass, armed individuals burst into the Catholic church,” said Ousmane Zongo, the mayor of the northern town of Dablo. “They started firing as the congregation tried to flee.”
The gunmen then set fire to the church, several shops and a small cafe before heading to the local health centre, which they looted, burning the chief nurse’s vehicle. “There is an atmosphere of panic in the town,” said Zongo.
“People are holed up in their homes, nothing is going on. The shops and stores are closed. It’s practically a ghost town,” he added. Security reinforcements were sent from Barsalogho, about 45 kilometres (30 miles) south of Dablo, and were combing the area, a security source said.
The attack came two days after French special forces freed four foreign hostages in the north of the country in an overnight raid that cost the lives of two soldiers.
The operation was ordered to free French hostages Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas, who disappeared while on
VIa BBC / The Guardian