Gunmen kill 24 Christians and Muslims at protestant church in Burkina Faso

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A 2008 file photo shows a congregation worshipping at a church in the district of Toleha in Burkina Faso

In the African nation of Burkina Faso, Christians and churches in northern provinces have become frequent targets of armed Islamists. In an attack on a protestant church on Feb. 16, however, gunmen killed 24 people who were both Christian and Muslim. 

Mailonline reports that a group of “armed terrorists” raided the village of Pansi “and attacked the peaceful local population after having identified them and separated them from non-residents,” the governor said in a statement.

The assault occurred during a weekly service at a Protestant church, security officials said.

“The provisional toll is 24 killed, including the pastor… 18 wounded and individuals who were kidnapped,” the governor said.

A resident of the nearby town of Sebba said Pansi villagers had fled there for safety.

Both Christians and Muslims were killed before the church was set on fire, said a government security official in Dori who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media.

The mayor of Boundore commune, Sihanri Osangola Brigadie, said roughly 20 attackers separated men from women close to a Protestant church. At least 18 other people were injured.

On Feb. 10 suspected jihadists in Sebba seized seven people at the home of a pastor. Five bodies were found three days later, including the pastor, according to the local governor.

One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso is on the front line of a jihadist insurgency. Since 2015, around 750 people have been killed there and around 600,000 people have fled their homes.

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