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Gunmen kill four at Catholic parade in Burkina Faso: church

AFP  |  Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) 

Gunmen killed four Catholics in a religious in north a day after a and five parishioners were murdered at mass, church officials said Tuesday.

The parade with a statue of the Virgin Mary was moving through the town of on Monday when "a group of terrorists intercepted the procession, killing four worshippers and burning the statue," said a for the Cathedral.

According to the agency AIB, the assailants stopped the "They let the minors go, executed four adults, and destroyed the statue," it quoted a local person as saying.

Paul Ouedraogo, of the Episcopal Conference of and Niger, told a meeting of bishops in the capital the attack had claimed four lives.

The killings came a day after a group of 20-30 armed men, according to witnesses, burst into the in Dablo, also in the Nord Region of Burkina Faso, shooting dead five parishioners and their

The attackers set fire to the church, several shops and a small cafe before heading to the health centre, which they looted, burning the chief nurse's vehicle.

Two days earlier, French special forces had freed four foreign hostages in Burkina Faso during an overnight raid that cost the lives of two soldiers.

Two weeks ago, there was a similar attack against a in Silgadji, also in the north, when gunmen on motorbikes killed a pastor and five worshippers.

Burkina has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a number of jihadist groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Islamic State in the Greater

The raids began in 2015 in the north before targeting the capital and other regions, notably in the east. Nearly 400 people have been killed since 2015 -- mainly in hit-and-run raids -- according to an AFP tally.

Jihadist groups target Christian clerics as well as Muslim ones they do not consider sufficiently radical.

Last month, jihadists attacked a village school in Maitaougou, in the eastern province of Koulpelogo, killing five teachers and a

Former colonial ruler has deployed 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, and in a mission condemned Barkhane to help local forces flush out jihadists.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 14 2019. 18:56 IST