UN condemns attack on Burkina Faso church

UN condemns attack on Burkina Faso church

Gunmen have killed six people including a priest as Mass was being celebrated in a church in Dablo in northern Burkina Faso, officials say.

Sunday morning's attack is also the second such attack on a Catholic church in less than two weeks. "They started firing as the churchgoers tried to flee", Dablo Mayor Ousmane Zongo told AFP.

Congregants were leaving church around 9am (0900 GMT) in the town of Dablo in the Central North region when about 20 men encircled them and shot six dead, according to a government statement and local sources.

"They burned down the church, then shops and a small restaurant before going to the health centre where they searched the premises and set fire to the head nurse's vehicle. It's practically a ghost town", he added.

Frenchmen Laurent Lassimouillas, 46, and Patrick Picque, 51, were seized by kidnappers in Benin's Pendjari National Park, near the border with Burkina Faso, on May 1. In February, a Spanish Catholic priest was killed in a raid in Nohao in the center of the country.

The other two hostages from the US and South Korean have not been named.

Jihadist groups target both Muslim and Christian clerics, mainly in the north.

Merkel pledged millions in financial support for the restive Sahel region shortly after meeting with Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore in the capital, Ouagadougou. The Islamic extremists also have targeted foreigners, abducting and killing a Canadian geologist earlier this year. Last month, jihadists attacked a village school in Maitaougou, in the eastern province of Koulpelogo, killing five teachers and a municipal worker.

He added: "We would like to thank the French authorities and those of Burkina Faso for participating in our liberation, so that we are now very far from all this hell we have been through".

But violence has only worsened since.

A map showing where the two attacks took place.

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