On Sunday morning in Burkina Faso, West Africa, terrorists on motorcycles stormed a Catholic church during mass.
The armed group — numbering between 20 and 30 — killed six men including the priest, identified as Father Simeon Yampa.
“They started firing as the congregation tried to flee,” Mayor Ousmane Zongo told the Agence France-Presse:
As reported by CNN:
The landlocked country in northwest Africa has been beset by extremist violence in recent months as Islamist terror groups expand their reach.
Following the murders, terrorists set fire to the church and nearby buildings.
More from the mayor:
“They burned down the church, then shops and a small restaurant before going to the health center where they searched the premises and set fire to the head nurse’s vehicle.”
Between 2017 and 2018, violent events linked to al Qaeda and ISIS skyrocketed from 24 to a whopping 136.
Last year, the White House announced a planned cut of U.S. troops in Africa by roughly 10%.
But, as noted by CNN in February, a growing terrorist threat had the Trump administration kickin’ around the idea of sending Burkina Faso additional assets in the form of military advisors and “intelligence and surveillance assets such as drones.”
As for the northern town of Dablo, “People are holed up at home. Shops and stores are closed. People are holed up at home. Shops and stores are closed,” Ousmane said.
This isn’t the first time in recent memory that a Christian church in Africa has seen its congregants murdered by Islamic radicals: In the village of Silgadjii in late April, five parishioners were murdered after Sunday service, along with the group’s pastor.
Terrorism is eclipsing the nation, and Fox indicates it’s partly due to an unsecured border:
Over the past six months, at least 5,000 people have been killed in the Sahel – the sub-Saharan region of northern Africa – amid an escalation of inter-ethnic violence ranging from bombings to massacres to suicide attacks.
Fox News also reported last year that Al Qaeda too had gained a foothold in the region, spilling over the porous border from Mali with weapons pillaged from Libya after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2012.
Here and elsewhere, churches have become places of danger. We’ve reached a very sad point in history when houses of worship must consider arming themselves, but that’s where we are (here, here, here, here, and here).
Terror is a cancer: Like that deadly disease, if not fought vigilantly and virulently, it will spread until it attains the ultimate victory.
Africa’s situation is a lesson for the rest of the world. Hopefully, it’s one from which America is willing to learn.
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