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Tension in Burkina Faso As Mosque, Church Become Targets of Coordinated Attacks

Authorities in Burkina Faso have reported dozens of fatalities in simultaneous attacks on a mosque and a church. 

The attackers struck during early-morning prayers at a mosque in Natiaboani town, targeting worshippers. 

Witnesses reveal that the victims were predominantly Muslim men, as Islamist insurgents continue to exert control over more than a third of Burkina Faso.

Reports from local media, depict a massive invasion by hundreds of machine gun-wielding militants on motorbikes. 

The attackers are suspected to be Islamist fighters who also targeted soldiers and a local self-defense militia on the same day. 

Unverified accounts on social media hint at a potentially higher death toll from the mosque attack than the official count provided by authorities.

Natiaboani is situated in Burkina Faso’s troubled eastern region, known for the presence of multiple armed groups. 

The same day, a Catholic church in Essakane, in the country’s northeast, experienced a tragic attack during Sunday mass, resulting in the death of at least 15 worshippers. 

A church official attributed the incident to suspected Islamist militants.

While no formal link has been established between the two attacks, Burkina Faso’s L’Observateur Paalga newspaper has raised questions about a possible coordinated plot. 

The nation has witnessed recurring attacks on religious figures, with a priest kidnapped from Djibo five years ago still missing, and the main imam of Djibo kidnapped and found dead in 2021.

Burkina Faso remains in the grip of a severe humanitarian crisis, described as one of the world’s most neglected. Persistent insecurity has displaced over two million people, and the UN estimates that a quarter of children under five suffer from stunted growth due to hunger.

Despite a military takeover two years ago with promises to combat insurgents, violence persists in Burkina Faso, underscoring the ongoing challenges faced by the nation.

Chioma Kalu

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