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Gunmen kill Burkina Faso pastor, worshippers

April 29, 2019

A group of attackers fired at Christian worshippers in Burkina Faso as the victims were leaving a church service, eyewitnesses have said. Several people have reportedly been killed, including the protestant pastor.

A soldier stands guard after a 2018 attack in Ouagadougou
Burkina Faso has been targeted by jihadist attacks since 2015Image: Getty Images/AFP/A. Ouoba

An attack on a church in Burkina Faso killed five people on Sunday, local media reported. At least two other people were missing, according to a security source cited by the AFP news agency.

The pastor of the church was also killed in the raid, which targeted the Protestant congregation in the small northern town of Silgadji, some 200 kilometers (124 miles) away from the capital Ouagadougou.

"The attackers were on motorbikes," a witness told AFP. "They fired in the air before aiming at the members of the congregation."

The attack happened in early afternoon, "just as the faithful were leaving the church at the end of the service," the witness added.

Infografik Karte Burkina Faso mit Ouagadougou, Djibo, Silgadji

Over one half of Burkina Faso residents are Muslim, but Christians, most of them Catholics, make up some 30 percent of the population. The West African state has been struggling with jihadist violence since 2015.

Jihadist groups regularly target Christian and moderate Muslim clerics in the north of the country. Several hundred people have lost their lives in the violence. A Catholic priest was killed in February in a raid attributed to jihadist groups, and a group of gunmen kidnapped another priest in the north in March.

Merkel set to visit region

The latest raid in Silgadji comes just over a week following the series of deadly Easter bombings in Sri Lanka.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Burkina Faso later this week to express Germany's commitment to regional stability. Merkel will also visit German soldiers stationed in neighboring Mali, and travel to the construction site of a women's shelter in Niger.

kw,dj/msh (AFP, KNA, Reuters)

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