Condemnation for deadly attack on church in Burkina Faso

An attack by gunmen on a church in Burkina Faso that left six people dead, reportedly including a priest, has prompted widespread condemnation from senior UN officials, including Secretary-General António Guterres.

According to media, the attack took place in the town of Dablo, situated in a region that has seen a spike in violence in recent months. The church was burned to the ground, along with other buildings including a health centre.

In a statement, Mr. Guterres urged “all citizens of Burkina Faso to stand firmly with one another across communities and not to succumb to efforts to sow discord and breed further violence”.

Just last week, three top UN humanitarian officials from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger warned of an “unprecedented” rise in “sophisticated armed attacks in the Sahel”, which are putting the future of a “whole generation” at stake.

Violence is spreading in Mali and Niger, as well as Burkina Faso, and risks spilling over into other West African countries.

This has led to a five-fold rise in the displacement of the local population in the last 12 months, who have seen more than 330,000 people leave their homes, in addition to 100,000 refugees.