Four people were killed at a Catholic church in Burkina Faso on Sunday, the latest in a series of attacks on Christians in the African country.
“The Christian community of Toulfe was the target of a terrorist attack which gathered for Sunday prayers. The attack left four of the faithful dead,” Bishop Justin Kientega of Ouahigouya in a statement.
At least 10 Catholics, including a priest, Father Simeon Yampa, were killed in two extremist attacks on Catholic parishes earlier this month in the country. Gunmen also killed a Protestant pastor and members of his congregation in late April.
Muslims make up just over 60 percent of the population of Burkina Faso, with Christians accounting for nearly a quarter. The rest adhere to indigenous religions.
Government officials have blamed the attacks on Islamist militants based in neighboring Mali.
Last week, bishops from the Regional Episcopal Conference of Francophone West Africa met in the Burkinabé capital, Ouagadougou.
“Religious leaders must rise together to denounce any instrumentalization of religion, particularly killings perpetrated in the name of God,” the bishops from Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Benin, Mali, Togo, Ivory Coast and Guinea said in the May 22 statement.
The bishops said “bad governance, insecurity, education system disfunctions and lack of employment opportunities” had all contributed to local misfortunes, adding that the Catholic Church was promoting education and entrepreneurship, while helping combat “poverty, criminality, despair and unemployment.”
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