Just one day after six Catholics were murdered by gunmen in Burkina Faso, four more Catholics were shot and killed in the northwest African country.
On Monday, unknown gunmen interrupted a religious procession in a village near Kongoussi, a northwest city of the Bam Province. After releasing the children, the assailants killed four adult worshipers and burned a Marian statue, according to reports.
“We will not be bogged down by the religious attacks,” said Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo, archbishop of Ougadougou, CNN reported.
The previous day, a group of gunmen attacked a Catholic church in Dablo, located in a nearby province. They shot and killed five men, including a priest, during Mass.
An estimated 20 to 30 men were believed to be involved with Sunday’s attack. They burned down the church, and also set fire to a health center and a few nearby shops, according to state media.
In recent years, Burkina Faso has seen an increase in terrorist activity from jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda affiliates. Human Rights Watch recently reported that the violence has displaced tens of thousands of villagers this year alone.
Last December, the government declared a state of emergency in several northern provinces as a result of these ongoing attacks, Reuters reports.
Five teachers were murdered in an attack last Friday. In April, four Catholics were killed in a separate church attack, and five parishioners and a pastor were shot down in a Protestant church.
Following Sunday’s attack, Pope Francis offered his prayers for the victims and communities of Burkina Faso.
“The Holy Father learned with sorrow the news of the attack on the church in Dablo, in #BurkinaFaso. He prays for the victims, for their families and for the whole Christian community of the country,” papal spokesman Alessandro Gisotti wrote on Twitter May 13.