At least 58 people, including children, were recently killed in northern Burkina Faso in three separate attacks by armed Islamic militants who were targeting Christians.
Christians were among those targeted and killed in the attacks that took place in the provinces of Loroum, Kompienga and Sanmatenga within 24 hours, from May 29 to May 30, according to the U.K.-based aid agency Barnabus Fund.
The group said a local source spoke to a survivor, who said the militants targeted Christians and humanitarians taking food to a camp of internally displaced people with many Christian villagers who had fled before the violence, according to Christian Post.
Referring to an attack on a humanitarian convoy in Sanmatenga province’s Barsalogho area, which left six civilians and seven soldiers dead, the survivor said, “The driver shouted ‘forgive, forgive, we are also followers of the [Islamic] prophet Muhammad.’ One of them [among the gunmen] turned to the other attackers and said, ‘they have the same religion with us.’”
The attack subsequently ended, the charity said.
Apart from the attack in Sanmatenga, militants opened fire indiscriminately at a cattle market in Kompienga on May 30, killing at least 30 people. The day before, a convoy of traders, which included children, was attacked while traveling from Titao to Sollé in Loroum province.
Dozens were injured in the three attacks.
The attack comes as over 4,000 were killed by Islamic extremist attacks in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali in 2019, according to the United Nations envoy for West Africa and the Sahel Mohamed Ibn Chambas.
Burkina Faso ranked 28th on Christian Watchdog Open Doors 2020 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.