WINDSOR TERRACE — Twenty-four people, including a church pastor, were killed during a Sunday service on Feb. 16 at a Protestant church in Burkina Faso, according to Col. Salfo Kaboré, the regional governor.
At least 10 people were injured in the attack, officials said. Three young people were also kidnapped, the Associated Press reported. Some villagers escaped and fled to a nearby town for safety.
Both Christians and Muslims were killed, before the church was set on fire, according to a local government security official.
“Armed terrorists” entered a small village in Yagha province in the northeastern part of Burkina Faso and “attacked the peaceful local population, after having identified them and separated them from nonresidents,” Kaboré said, according to The Guardian.
Sihanri Osangola Brigadie, a local mayor in the area, visited some of the hospitalized victims.
“It hurt me when I saw the people,” Brigadie told the AP. He said gunmen stole oil and rice from local shops, and forced the three kidnapped youth to help transport the goods on their motorbikes.
Last week in the same province, a retired pastor was killed, and another pastor was abducted by the terrorists, according to an internal security report for humanitarian aid workers.
More than 1,300 civilians were killed in attacks in the once-peaceful West African nation of Burkina Faso last year — more than seven times the previous year, according to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.
Corinne Dufka, the West Africa director for the Human Rights Watch, said that attacks against civilians, including Christians, are occurring at an “alarming rate,” the AP reported.
“Perpetrators use victims’ links to government or their faith to justify the killings, while others appear to be reprisal killings for killings by the government security forces,” Dufka said.