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15 killed in attack on Catholic church

by Premier Journalist
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15 worshippers died and two were injured during Sunday Mass when Islamist militants opened fire inside a Catholic church in Essakane, north-east Burkina Faso.

Twelve of the victims were shot dead instantly, while three others died from their injuries in hospital, according to a statement sent to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) by Dori Diocese.

Father Jean-Pierre Sawadogo, vicar general of Dori Diocese, asked for prayers for the deceased and their loved ones.

Father Sawadogo wrote: “At this painful time, we invite you to pray for those who have died in the Faith, that they may rest in the Lord, for the healing of the wounded and for the consolation of those who are grieving.

“Let us also pray for the conversion of those who continue to sow death and desolation in our country.”

He added: “May our efforts of penance and prayer during this blessed season of Lent bring peace and security to our country, Burkina Faso.”

Jihadist insurgent groups control around 40 percent of the country’s territory, and more than two million people – about 10 percent of the population – have been displaced because of the ongoing armed conflict.

ACN has supported Father Sawadogo and other priests, religious and seminarians in Burkina Faso with Mass stipends, training fees and vehicles.

The charity has also provided emergency aid – including food – to hundreds of people driven out of their homes by extremists.

The security situation in Burkina Faso has deteriorated drastically over the past few years, with Christians particularly targeted by extremist groups.

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