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More Than a Dozen Killed in Attack on Catholics at Mass in Burkina Faso

At least 15 Catholics were killed in an attack during Mass on Sunday in the Burkina Faso village of Essakane in the country’s Oudalan province in the northeastern region, a jurisdiction of the Diocese of Dori.

In a statement, Father Jean-Pierre Sawadogo, the vicar general of the Dori Diocese, called the Feb. 25 incident a “terrorist attack” and appealed for prayers for the souls of those who he said “died in faith.” He also called for spiritual solidarity with those in need of healing and consolation.

“In this painful circumstance, we invite you to pray for those who died in faith, for the healing of the wounded, and for the consolation of grieving hearts,” Father Sawadogo said.

“May our efforts of penance and prayer during this blessed season of Lent obtain peace and security for our country, Burkina Faso,” he added.

According to Father Sawadogo, 12 worshippers were killed at the scene of the attack while three succumbed to their injuries while receiving treatment. Two others were being treated at a hospital.

The village of Essakane is in the “three borders” zone near the borders of Burkina Faso with Mali and Niger in the vast Sahel region. The Sahel region spans some 3,355 miles and stretches from the Atlantic Ocean eastward through northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, the great bend of the Niger River in Mali, Burkina Faso, Southern Niger, northeastern Nigeria, south-central Chad, and into Sudan.

The attack is the latest in a series of atrocities blamed on Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State reportedly active in the Sahel region, which have taken over long strips of land and contributed to the displacement of millions of people in the region.

Authorities in the Sahel region have been battling against the Islamist terrorist groups since Libya’s civil war in 2011, which was followed by an Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012. The jihadist insurgency reportedly spilled over into Burkina Faso and Niger in 2015.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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