(World Watch Monitor) — Gunmen who attacked a Protestant church in Burkina Faso on April 28 asked the pastor and five others to convert to Islam before they killed them, World Watch Monitor has learned.
Last Sunday’s violence in the West African country appears to have been the first attack, specifically on a church building, in which people have been killed by Islamist extremists. In February, a Spanish Catholic priest was killed by armed men, believed to be Islamist militants, in the south-east region of Nohao, as he was returning from Togo.
Burkina Faso is long known for its peaceful co-existence among religious communities, unlike neighboring Mali. But over the past two years, attacks by Islamist militants, military operations, and waves of inter-communal violence have left hundreds dead and 135,000 displaced, triggering an “unprecedented” humanitarian crisis that has caught many by surprise, says New Humanitarian News.
It reports that “home-grown militant groups, as well as extremists linked to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State group, have been in the country’s arid north (bordering Mali) since 2016, but have expanded to new fronts in the east and south-west, threatening the stability of neighboring countries – Ghana, Benin, Togo, and Ivory Coast among them.”