Dozens dead after mosque attack in Burkina Faso on same day as church attack

(Photo Credit: Christian Aid)A woman runs an errand in West Africa's Burkina Faso. People in the Sahel region of Africa are experiencing a severe food crises - a designation that involves multiple stresses on families, governments and aid agencies over several years, a designation which precedes a famine.

Dozens of people have been shot dead at a mosque during early morning prayers on the same day that a church was attacked, say the authorities in Burkina Faso.

The gunmen surrounded the mosque in Natiaboani town in Burkina Faso, the BBC reported.

The attacks came in a region of Africa known as the Sahel, a semiarid region of western and north-central Africa extending from Senegal eastward to Sudan which has faced years of religious extremism.

The Sahel forms a transitional zone between the arid Sahara (desert) to the north and the belt of more humid savannas to the south.

"The victims were all Muslims, most of them men," a local resident told the AFP news agency.

Islamist insurgent currently contol more than a third of Burkina Faso a country that often faces that threat of famine.

The attackers are suspected to be Islamist fighters who also targeted soldiers and a self-defense militia stationed locally that same day.

Natiaboani, where those attacks happened, is in Burkina Faso's troubled eastern region where multiple armed groups operate.

That same day, at least 15 worshippers were killed in an attack on a Catholic church during Sunday mass in Essakane in the country's north-east. A church official said suspected Islamist militants were to blame, reported the BBC.


Natiaboani is a rural community about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Fada N'Gourma, the main town in Burkina's eastern region, which has seen regular attacks by armed groups since 2018, according to AFP.

It is close to the border with Benin and Togo, other Sahel region countries.

There was no initial form link between the two attacks, but Burkina Faso's privately owned L'Observateur Paalga newspaper questioned whether they were part of a coordinated plot.

Attacks on religious figures and worshippers have taken place periodically in Burkina Faso in recent years.

A priest kidnapped from the northern town of Djibo five years ago is still missing.

The extremists single out Muslims as  well as Chrsitians.

And in 2021, the main imam of the same town of Djibo was kidnapped by armed men and found dead days later

.Burkina Faso is cited by humanitarian agencies as one of the world's most-neglected crises.

Years of incessant insecurity led to more than two million people being forced from their homes,

.A military junta led by Captain Ibrahim Traore seized power in Burkina Faso in 2022, pledging to curb insurgents but has not succeeded.

It was the country's second coup in less than a year -- both were triggered partially due to the government's failures to quell jihadist violence.

As part of the Sahel, Burkina Faso has battled escalating violent extremism since Libya's civil war in 2011, followed by an Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012.

The military seized power two years ago, promising to win the battle against insurgents, but the violence continues.

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