Gunmen kill six in Catholic church in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso church attack

Burkina Faso church attack

Several gunman burst into a Catholic Church Sunday morning in north-central Burkina Faso, killing six, including the church's priest as he celebrated Mass.

The attack happened in the northern town of Dablo, not far from the volatile border with Mali, at the beginning of Mass, Radio France Internationale reported.

"They were about 40 on motorcycles", a witness said.

"They killed five of them".

The attackers then burned the church, looted a pharmacy and some others stores, and left in vehicles, they told Reuters.

Militant Islamic groups linked to ISIS and al-Qaeda have been waging an increasingly violent war against followers of Jesus in the West African nation - this is the third attack on a church over the past five weeks.

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The population of the country is 61.5 percent Muslim, 23.3 percent Roman Catholic and 6.5 percent Protestant, according to the 2010 census. "It's practically a ghost town".

French special forces staged the daring rescue last week, heading off the kidnappers and their hostages as they made the journey north into Mali, presumably so that the kidnappers could turn over the foreigners to more powerful jihadi groups. In that message, Macron also identified the rescued hostages as French tourists Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas - who were abducted May 1 in Benin.

The team also found two other female captives, an American woman and a South Korean.

The attack on Sunday took place in Dablo, about 200 kilometres (124 miles) from the capital, Ouagadougou.

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.

Burkina Faso attracted worldwide attention last week after two French soldiers died in an overnight military raid that freed four hostages, including an American woman.

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