Saudi Arabia condemns attack on church in Burkina Faso

Saudi Arabia has condemned a terror attack on a church in northeast Burkina Faso in which 24 people were killed and three kidnapped.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the Kingdom’s condolences to families of the victims, and the government and people of Burkina Faso, and reiterated its rejection of violence, terrorism and extremism.

On Sunday, gunmen killed 24 people, including a church pastor, and kidnapped three others in Burkina Faso. It was the latest attack against a religious leader in the increasingly unstable West African nation. Sihanri Osangola Brigadie, mayor of Boundore commune, said the attack occurred in the town of Pansi in Yagha province. 

About 20 attackers separated men from women outside a Protestant church. At least 18 people were injured.

“It hurt me when I saw the people,” Brigadie said after visiting some victims in a hospital in Dori town, 180 km from the attack.

Both Christians and Muslims were killed before the church was set on fire, a government security official said. Attacks have targeted religious leaders in the area in the past. 

Last week a retired pastor was killed and another abducted by gunmen, according to an internal security report for aid workers.

More than 1,300 civilians were killed in attacks last year in Burkina Faso, more than seven times the previous year, according to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, which collects and analyzes conflict information.

The insecurity has created a humanitarian crisis. More than 760,000 people have been forced from their homes in the country, according to the government.