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Burkina Faso: At least 15 killed in attack on Catholic church

Ouagadougou: A village in Burkina Faso's conflict-ridden northern region witnessed a brutal attack, which claimed the lives of at least 15 Catholic worshippers as they gathered for mass at a church, Al Jazeera reported.
Abbot Jean-Pierre Sawadogo, the vicar-general of the Catholic Diocese of Dori, where the attack occurred on Sunday, described the incident as a "terrorist attack."
The assailants struck the village of Essakane, leaving 12 attendees dead at the scene, while three others succumbed to their injuries during medical treatment. Two additional individuals sustained injuries in the attack.
Despite the tragic event, there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting, as reported by Al Jazeera.
Abbot Jean-Pierre Sawadogo urged for prayers, stating, "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."
The region where the attack unfolded has been plagued by armed groups, responsible for numerous assaults. Some incidents targeted Christian churches, while others involved the abduction of clergy.
Burkina Faso faces a precarious situation, with approximately half the country outside government control due to the persistent activities of these armed groups. Over the years, thousands have lost their lives, and more than two million people have been displaced, posing a severe threat to the nation's stability. Burkina Faso experienced two coups in 2022, and since then, the military rulers have grappled to restore peace in violent areas.
According to an August 2023 report by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the number of casualties from armed group attacks has nearly tripled compared to the preceding 18 months.
The challenges faced by the military government are exacerbated by the country's porous borders with Mali and Niger, both governed by military officials dealing with their own security crises, Al Jazeera reported.

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