Gunmen killed at least 24 people and wounded 18 more during an attack on a protestant church in the village of Pansi, in the north of Burkina Faso, announced the governor of the Sahel region, Colonel Salfo Kaboré.
A group of "armed terrorists" burst into the village of Pansi, in Yagha, a volatile province near the Niger border, “and attacked the peaceful local population after having identified them and separated them from non-residents,” Colonel Salfo Kabore said in a statement sent to AFP.
The Sunday attack occurred during weekly church service, according to the AFP.
A group of "armed terrorists" burst into the village of Pansi, in Yagha province "and attacked the peaceful local population after having identified them and separated them from non-residents", Colonel Salfo Kabore said in a statement sent to AFP.
#BurkinaFaso: At least 24 people were killed and 18 wounded in yesterday's attack on the village of #Pansi in northern Burkina Faso, the governor of the Sahel region, Colonel Salfo Kaboré, announced. https://t.co/54517hsuXI pic.twitter.com/i09eMBBGgr— NewsAspect (@newsaspect) February 17, 2020
Neighbors in the nearby town of Sebba told reporters that Pansi villagers had fled there for safety.
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, and it's also home to a brutal jihadist insurgency which is growing across the Sahel region.
Since 2015, around 750 people have been killed in Burkina, and around 600,000 people have fled their homes as Christian churches have been attacked, amid other acts of Jihadi violence. The north of the country has a mixed population of Christians and Muslims, and for ages the two groups lived harmoniously side by side. But as radicalization and Islamic extremism have swept the area, their easy peace has come to an end.
This isn't even the first violent attack on a church this month: On Feb. 10, suspected jihadists in Sebba took seven people hostage inside the home of a pastor. Later, five bodies were found, including the body of the pastor, according to the local governor. Reports circling on twitter claim the pastor of the church attacked on Sunday was targeted by the attackers.
Due to a weak military and almost nonexistent rule of law, attacks like this happen frequently in the region. More than 4,000 people in Burkina have been killed in acts of violence perpetrated by Islamic extremist terrorists over the past year.
That's a staggering number.