Terrorism & Insurgency

Islamist attacks on Burkinabe churches indicate a broadening strategy from stoking inter-ethnic violence to prioritising sectarian divisions

17 May 2019

Suspected militant Islamist gunmen killed six people, including a priest, during a raid on a Catholic church in the town of Dablo in Burkina Faso’s Centre-Nord region on 12 May. Local officials stated that after opening fire on the congregation, the suspected militants set fire to the church and several nearby shops and looted a pharmacy, before fleeing on motorcycles.

The incident was the third attack targeting churches in Burkina Faso since April. A Protestant pastor and two of his sons were killed, along with three other worshippers, by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Silgadji in the neighbouring Sahel region on 28 April, while four people were killed in an attack on a Catholic church in a nearby village on 5 April.

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