A priest is among six dead after jihadist militants attacked a Catholic church.
The attack took place on Mother’s Day in the town of Dablo in the African nation of Burkina Faso, a country located in the northwest region of Africa.
Reports say between 20 and 30 terrorists, believed to be Muslim jihadists, stormed the church during mass and opened fire. They then set fire to the church, burning it to the ground.
Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and Ansarul Islamic militants have all been active in the country, authorities say.
The town’s mayor, Ousmane Zongo, told local media that surrounding buildings also burned down and a health clinic nearby was looted.
This is the third Christian church terror attack in the country in just over a month. Islamic-based terror attacks have escalated in the country recently, as extremists from surrounding countries have entered the country. In 2016, a dozen jihadist attacks were reported in the country. Last year, that skyrocketed to 158 attacks.
The attack occurred at 9:00 a.m. local time, and Mayor Zongo told news agency AFP “Armed individuals burst into the Catholic church. They started firing as the congregation tried to flee.”
“There is an atmosphere of panic in the town. People are holed up in their homes, nothing is going on. The shops and stores are closed. It’s practically a ghost town,” he said.
The BBC reported that church elders were among those killed in the attack. Local residents are criticizing the response from authorities, saying soldiers from a nearby base did not respond to the attack right away.
Christian churches continue to be targeted by Islamic militants in the country. In April, six people died in an attack on a Protestant church in the town of Silgadji. That same month, four people were killed in an attack on a Catholic church in a small village in northern Burkina Faso. The Muslim terror groups are also targeting other symbols of Western culture, including schools and teachers.
The attack on Sunday may have been in retaliation for a recent rescue mission in the country conducted by French special forces. Four hostages, including two French citizens, a South Korean, and an American, were kidnapped by the Muslim terror group Katiba Macina, but freed in a rescue operation on Friday. Two French soldiers were killed in the rescue mission.
France, who once controlled much of the region, has over 4,000 troops in the area to combat Islamic miitants.
Here is a news report from an Italian media outlet on the tragedy. PLEASE NOTE: Many will find the content of the video disturbing.
Authorities continue to hunt for suspects in the region.
Post your thoughts in the comments section below on the terror attack on a Catholic church in Burkina Faso. In addition, share this on social media.