Gunmen kill six during Catholic mass in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso church attack

MASSACRE The attack was carried out in the landlocked African country of Burkina Faso

Unidentified gunmen stormed a Catholic Church in Burkina Faso on Sunday morning, killing the priest and five worshippers before they set the building on fire, local officials say.

Gunmen on motorbikes entered the church in the town of Silgadji near Djibo, the capital of Soum province, and opened fire near the end of a Sunday service.

Dablo mayor Ousmane Zongo said: "Around 9 a.m., during a mass, armed individuals burst into the Catholic Church".

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Witnesses said the priest and five churchgoers were killed and several others were injured in the attack on the Catholic Church of Dablo in the landlocked West African country, VOA Africa reported. It's unknown who is behind the attacks.

Over 350 people have been killed in the raids which have been attributed to a number of jihadist groups, including the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and the Ansarul Islam group.

The attacks took place in Dablo located in the Sanmatenga Province in the country's center.

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Around 4.3 million people have been driven from their homes in the worsening violence that has engulfed the entire Sahel region, including one million over the past year, according to United Nations humanitarian officials.

The attack came two days after the release of two hostages in Burkina Faso during a daring French special forces military operation that resulted in the deaths of two of their own soldiers. "At least two other people are missing", the AFP news agency quoted a source as saying at the time.

Burkina Faso is among countries in the vast Sahel region battling Islamist insurgencies in the region.

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A report submitted to the UN Security Council previous year warned that security had "deteriorated rapidly over the last six months" in the area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with attacks spreading to eastern Burkina Faso.

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