A new attack in the middle of Sunday Mass killed four people in a church in Burkina Faso on May 26, 2019. This is the third bloody attack against Catholics in less than a month in the country, confirming the internationalization of the terrorist strategy of jihadist groups.
According to a military source quoted by Ouest France on May 26, 2019, “heavily armed individuals attacked the village church at the moment when the faithful were celebrating Sunday Mass... The attack took place around 9 a.m.”
Justin Kientega, Bishop of Ouahigouya, the diocese in whose territory the massacre took place, immediately issued a statement, relayed by the digital newspaper lefaso.net: “The Catholic community of Touflé in the Notre Dame de Joi (Our Lady of Joy) parish in Titao, was the target of a terrorist attack, while they were gathered for Sunday prayers. The attack caused the death of four faithful. Let us unite our prayers for the repose of the martyrs souls in God, for a quick recovery of the wounded, for the consolation of the bereaved families, for the conversion of the executioners, and for peace in our country, Burkina Faso.”
In Sahel, jihadist action has redeployed since the fall of the Islamic State (IS) caliphate in Baghouz in March 2019. It has stretched far from its bases in northern Mali down to the South.
The conflict is now overflowing in Niger, and even more so in Burkina Faso, where movements affiliated with al-Qaida or the IS organization have exploited old intercommunity rivalries and recriminations against elites and states.
According to the NGO Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, for the past year, the number of deaths connected to attacks against civilians—often Christians—has increased by 7,028% in Burkina Faso.