24 Slaughtered at Christian Church by Islamist Gunmen
24 killed and 18 wounded by 'armed terrorists' during attack in Burkina Faso
24 people have been slaughtered by Islamist gunmen during an attack on a Christian church in Burkina Faso, Africa.
18 people were also injured during the Jihadist assault on a Protestant church in the village of Pansi in the Yagha province of eastern Burkina Faso.
The village was raided by a group of "armed terrorists" who "attacked the peaceful local population after having identified them and separated them from non-residents," Governor Colonel Salfo Kabore, said in a statement.
"The provisional toll is 24 killed, including the pastor... 18 wounded and individuals who were kidnapped," Kabore added.
The attack occurred during Sunday service at a Christian church, security officials said.
The Islamists killed both Christians and Muslims before setting the church on fire, a government security official in Dori revealed, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the media.
A resident of the nearby town of Sebba said Pansi villagers had fled there for safety, according to the Daily Mail.
The mayor of Boundore commune, Sihanri Osangola Brigadie, said roughly 20 attackers separated men from women close to a Protestant church.
At least 18 other people were injured.
"It hurt me when I saw the people," Brigadie said after visiting some of the victims in the hospital in Dori town, 110 miles from the attack.
The gunmen looted oil and rice from shops and forced the three youth they kidnapped to help transport it on their motorbikes, he said.
Christians and churches in northern provinces have become frequent targets by armed Islamists.
On 10 February, suspected jihadists in Sebba seized seven people at the home of a pastor.
Five bodies were found three days later, including the pastor, according to the local governor.
One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso is on the front line of a jihadist insurgency advancing in the Sahel.
Since 2015, around 750 people have been killed in Burkina and around 600,000 people have fled their homes.
Also in the north of the country, five soldiers were killed on Sunday when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device near Banh, in Loroum province, security sources said.
"Three of the five were killed instantly and the two others died later from serious injuries," one of the sources said.
Thirty people in Burkina Faso have died in four attacks by highway bombs since the start of the year, according to a reported toll.
They include seven schoolchildren in the northwest of the country who were among 14 killed aboard a bus that had taken a road that had been banned because of the security risk.
According to UN figures, jihadist attacks in Burkina and neighboring Mali and Niger left nearly 4,000 people dead last year.
Their armed forces are weak, struggling with poor equipment and lack of training and funding.
In Niger, a policeman was killed on Sunday at a police post near Ayorou, in the western region of Tillaberi, in the second attack in the area in a week, a security official said.
Analysts are concerned that attacks against civilians, including against Christians, are increasing "at an alarming rate," said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director for Human Rights Watch.
"Perpetrators use victims' links to government or their faith to justify the killings, while others appear to be reprisal killings for killings by the government security forces," she said.
More than 1,300 civilians were killed in targeted attacks last year in Burkina Faso, more than seven times the previous year, according to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, which collects and analyzes conflict information.