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A pastor and five churchgoers were murdered by gunmen while leaving their church in the West African nation of Burkina Faso on Sunday.
On Monday, government officials reported that the six people were killed in a Protestant Church in the northern part of the country in the village of Silgadji.
Spokesperson - Remy - Fulgance - Dandjinou - Media
Spokesperson Remy Fulgance Dandjinou told media that Sunday’s attack is the first to target a church in Burkina Faso, which has recently seen an uptick in Islamic extremist violence.
Although Burkina Faso is a majority-Muslim country (60 percent), religious groups have largely coexisted peacefully there.
Security - Source - Al - Jazeera - Individuals
A security source who spoke with Al Jazeera explained that "unidentified armed individuals” attacked the Protestant church. Although different extremists groups are known to operate in Burkina Faso and neighboring Mali, no group has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack in Silgadji as of Tuesday afternoon.
"The attack happened around 1 p.m. just as the faithful were leaving the church at the end of the service," one unnamed member of the church told Al Jazeera. “The attackers were on motorbikes. They fired in the air before aiming at the members of the congregation."
Rinaldo - Depagne - West - Africa - Project
Rinaldo Depagne, the West Africa Project Director at International Crisis Group, an NGO that researches violent conflicts, told Reuters that armed groups have “every interest in troubling or going against the good understanding between religions” in Burkina Faso.
“We have observed this strategy in other countries in the region and in the world,” Depagne stressed.
Thomas - Murphy - Intelligence - Analyst - Risk
Thomas Murphy, an intelligence analyst at The Risk Advisory Group, told The National that the group Ansarul Islam is the “most active” terror group in the northern part of Burkina Faso. However, he noted that they tend to carry out kidnappings and assassinations.
Additionally, Al-Qaeda-linked militants in neighboring Mali have in recent months conducted various attacks in Mali, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, including an...
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