15 killed at Burkina Faso church as villagers gathered for prayers


There have been appeals for prayer after 15 Christians were killed in an attack during a church service in Burkina Faso on Sunday. 

Abbot Jean-Pierre Sawadogo, of the local Diocese of Dori, said 12 people were killed in the attack and three others died later in hospital. 

Gunmen opened fire on the church in Essakane village in the Northeast of the country during the service. The attackers are believed to be radical Islamic militants. 

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Sawadogo has asked people to pray for all those affected. 

"In this painful circumstance, we invite you to pray for those who died in faith, for the healing of the wounded, and for the consolidation of grieving hearts," he said.

Open Doors said the north of the country has been blighted by serious violence since the departure of French troops from the country last year. 

The organization, which advocates for persecuted Christians worldwide, said at least 800,000 people in Burkina Faso "effectively live under a militant Islamist group siege."

Burkina Faso is ranked No. 20 on Open Doors' World Watch List of countries where it's most dangerous to be a Christian. 

Open Doors says jihadist violence has "increased radically" since it started working in Burkina Faso in 2019. 

Jo Newhouse, Open Doors' spokesperson on Sub-Saharan Africa, said, "Burkina Faso has been known for religious tolerance and social cohesion.

"However, the growing Islamic insurgency threatens the peaceful coexistence of the Burkinabe. Christians have been disproportionately impacted by the growing insurgency in the north of the country, with churches and Christian communities singled out in attacks.

"Meanwhile Muslims who do not side with the Islamic extremist groups have also suffered greatly."

Originally published at Christian Today 

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