For the second time since Easter, a church in Burkina Faso has suffered a terrorism attack during Sunday services.
This time, the target was a Catholic church in Dablo, where the priest and five worshipers were killed. This prompted a series of déjà vu headlinesamong global media outlets as the death toll matches last month’s attack on an Assemblies of God church in Sirgadji, where the pastor and five worshipers were killed.
The assailants again arrived on motorcycles and interrupted morning Mass. “They started firing as the congregation tried to flee,” said mayor Ousmane Zongo, reported Agence-France Presse.
They “ordered the women and children to clear the scene before executing six men, including the priest,” and setting fire to the church, reportedthe Burkina Information Agency.
The martyred priest, Simeon Yampa, was 34 years old and “a humble person, obedient and full of love, he loved his parishioners,” the local bishop of Kaya told Agenzia Fides, the Vatican’s news agency.
The landlocked West African nation has suffered hundreds of attacks by jihadists in recent years, but last month’s attack on the Pentecostal congregation was considered the first upon a house of worship. Today’s attack on the Catholic congregation is now the second.
Burkina Faso is approximately 60 percent Muslim and 25 percent Christian, with Catholics outnumbering Protestants 4 to 1.
The Dablo attack came the day before Catholic bishops across West Africa gathered in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, for a third plenary assembly.
“Today more than ever, the Church of West Africa through the Bishops wants to show the world that the Christians of Burkina are not and will never be alone in this fight against religious extremism,” Donald Zagore of the Society for African Missions told Agenzia Fides. “The fight will be won because we are aware of the fact that evil, whatever its content, will not have the last word in our lives. But we cannot face this challenge if our governments are not involved in a concrete and effective way.”
Read more at Christianity Today.