Date: May 15, 2019
Islamist militant gunmen launched a third murderous attack on Christians in northern Burkina Faso on 13 May, bringing the death toll in their two-week rampage to 16.
In the latest attack, they shot and killed four people who were in prominent positions in a church parade in Zimtenga.
On 12 May, a gang of between 20 to 30 terrorists stormed into a Sunday service at a church in Dablo where they rounded up the pastor and five church leaders and shot them in cold blood. The terrorists then set fire to the church, burning its pews, the pulpit and a cross, before torching a shop in the town and looting a health centre.
“These terrorist groups are now attacking religion with the macabre aim of dividing us,” said a government statement. The mayor of Dablo, Ousmane Zongo, said, “There is an atmosphere of panic in the town. People are holed up in their homes.”
In the first attack, on 28 April in the northern town of Silgadji, gunmen herded together the pastor and five of his congregation and demanded they deny their Christian faith and convert to Islam. When they refused, they were taken one-by-one behind a building where they were executed.
In each of the attacks the gunmen arrived riding motorbikes or mopeds. A Barnabas Fund contact told us, “People are afraid when a moped goes by.”
A rising tide of Islamic extremism in Mali by groups with links to Islamic militants and Al Qaeda has produced growing terrorism that now seems to be spilling over into impoverished Burkina Faso, which is more than 50% Muslim, but with a large Christian minority of about 20%.