Burkina Faso: Deadly Attack on a Church

Source: FSSPX News

“Coordinated” terrorist attacks in the North East and East of the country claimed at least 15 Catholic victims on February 25, 2024, and a still undetermined number of Muslims were killed on February 25, 2024. The faithful were targeted while they were in full celebration. A mosque was also attacked.

The Diocese of Dori announced the sad news in a press release: “We bring to your attention the terrorist attack suffered by the Catholic community of Essakané-Village on February 25, 2024, while they were gathered for the Sunday prayer. The provisional report shows 15 faithful killed and two injured.”

Another attack targeting Muslims who were performing their dawn prayers in a mosque in Natiaboani left dozens dead and injured. According to the Burkina Faso Information Agency (AIB), “thousands of terrorists” launched “simultaneous assaults” in several localities in the country. These attacks targeted both civilian populations and the Defense and Security Forces.

According to the latest Global Terrorism Index 2023 report, the number of victims of terrorist attacks in the Sahel region has increased by more than 2,000% over the past 15 years. Burkina Faso is the first country on the continent and the second country in the world most affected according to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2023, published by the Institute for Economy and Peace (IEP).

Most terrorist attacks are carried out by ISIS, Shebab, the Support Group for Islam and Muslims, and the Balochistan Liberation Front in West Pakistan.

“The Sahel region in sub-Saharan Africa is now the epicenter of terrorism… accounting for more deaths from terrorism in 2022 than South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa combined,” according to a report. “Across the Sahel, 22,074 people were killed in 6,408 terrorist attacks between 2007 and 2022,” indicates the same report.

With 8,564 victims, Burkina Faso occupies second place among the most affected countries in in the world in 2022, just behind Afghanistan, ranked first country since 2019. The country recorded 310 terrorist incidents in 2022 compared to 224 in 2021.

Civilians Are the Most Affected

In Burkina Faso, 1,135 deaths were recorded, an increase of 50% in deaths compared to 2021, according to the same source. More than half were civilians. For the fourth consecutive year, civilians were the target of terrorists with 642 deaths, or more than 57% of the total deaths. In total, it is an increase of 29% compared to 2021 when 497 civilians lost their lives.

Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been facing armed struggle from religious extremist groups. More than ten thousand people, including clergy, unarmed civilians, and also security personnel, died in these attacks. This situation caused two successive coups in eight months: first in September, then in January 2022.

A False Global Decrease

It should be noted that the GTI notes that globally, there has been a 9% drop in deaths due to terrorism and a 28% decrease in attacks. But this is only an illusion which gives the impression that the reduction in terrorist violence means a resolution of the problems.

In fact, it is often the sign of the ultimate victory of Islamist radicalism, as in Afghanistan where the rule of the Taliban returned to power paralyzes the country, with less recourse to the terrorist threat. The number of deaths due to terrorism fell by 866, an improvement of 58%.