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Rebels kill 15 Catholics during service

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At least 15 Catholic worshippers were killed in the Burkina Faso village of Essakane on Sunday when gunmen attacked them as they gathered for mass service in the country’s northern region.

DDM understands that the assailants killed 12 worshippers at spot, while three others died while receiving treatment in hospital.

“In this painful circumstance, we invite you to pray for the rest in God for those who have died in faith, for the healing of the wounded and … for the conversion of those who continue to sow death and desolation in our country,” Abbot Jean-Pierre Sawadogo, vicar-general of the Catholic Diocese of Dori, said in a terse statement.

No further details were provided about the attack, which no group has so far claimed responsibility for.

But suspicion fell on jihadists who have frequently attacked remote communities and security forces, especially in the northern region.

About half of Burkina Faso is outside government control as jihadi groups have ravaged the country for years.

Fighters have killed thousands and displaced more than 2 million people, further threatening the stability of the country that had two coups in 2022.

The country’s junta has struggled to restore peace in violence hotspots since the first coup in January 2022, the number of people killed by jihadis has nearly tripled compared with the 18 previous months, according to a report by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in August.

In addition to the junta’s limited capacity, the security situation also has been worsened by the country’s porous borders with Mali and Niger, both of which are also run by juntas and which also struggle with security crises.

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