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Gunmen Murder 15 Churchgoers During Sunday Service in Burkina Faso

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Gunmen in Burkina Faso stormed a Catholic church Sunday killing 15 worshippers and leaving two in critical condition, according to a senior church official.

The vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Dori, Jean-Pierre Sawadogo, called it a jihadist "terrorist" attack. He also asked for prayer for "those who continue to wreak death and desolation in our country."

"In this painful circumstance, we invite you to pray for the rest in God for those who have died in faith, for the healing of the wounded and … for the conversion of those who continue to sow death and desolation in our country," Sawadogo said in a statement.

"May our efforts of penance and prayer during this blessed season of Lent obtain peace and security for our country, Burkina Faso," he added.

The attack took place in the Essakane village which borders Mali and Niger.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility.

As CBN News has reported, Islamic militants have continually attacked the area, especially churches. 

The recent attacks are the latest in a series of atrocities linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State in the Sahel region, Catholic News Agency reports.

The government has little control as jihadist groups fight to take control over swaths of land since Libya's civil war in 2011 and an Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012. 

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Two coups have taken place in the country since 2022 and the number of people killed by Islamic jihadists has nearly tripled compared with the 18 previous months, according to a report by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in August.

Fighters have killed nearly 20,000 people and displaced more than 2 million people, ABC News reports. 

According to Open Doors' World Watch List, Burkina Faso ranks as the 20th worst place in the world to be a Christian. 

"The continued violence in Burkina Faso shows that there is continuing instability. In some parts of the country, there may simply be no Christians to kidnap or kill. In these areas, churches and villages lie vacant because all the believers were forced to flee to safer regions. And yet, even some of those "safer" parts of the country are risky for Christians as the country and Africa's Sahel region continue to experience political turmoil," Open Doors explains.

"Habiba" is a Christian who was abducted by Islamic militants. She told Open Doors her life was constantly under threat. 

"At prayer time, [the militants who kidnapped me] would gather everyone to pray. We couldn't refuse or even hide. We were constantly surrounded by guns. They would kill you if you didn't perform the Muslim prayers."

Meanwhile, Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International that many Christians no longer attend mass in the country because of fear of the jihadists. 

"We understand them and do not ask them to go beyond their courage," he expressed. 

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.