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Burkina Faso: 6 killed in Catholic church attack

Gunmen killed six people attending mass at the Catholic church of Dablo in northern Burkina Faso Sunday morning, officials and witnesses said.

The priest and five churchgoers were among the victims, a witness told VOA Africa.

"They were about forty on motorcycles," the witness said of the attackers. "They made everyone lie down, executed 5 before torching the church."

The attackers set parts of the church and nearby shops on fire before fleeing the scene roughly an hour and a half after they arrived. Multiple injuries have been reported. Last week, gunman killed five people in a Protestant church in the small northern town of Silgadji.

The attack began at about 09:00 (GMT and local time), during Mass. The mayor of Dablo, Mr Zongo told the AFP news agency: "Armed individuals burst into the Catholic church... They started firing as the congregation tried to flee.

"There is an atmosphere of panic in the town. People are holed up in their homes, nothing is going on. The shops and stores are closed. It's practically a ghost town," he said.

Security sources told AFP that reinforcements were being sent from Barsalogho, some 45km (30 miles) to the south. A local journalist told the BBC those killed included church elders and that residents were angry that soldiers in a nearby base did not respond promptly.

Who could be behind the attack?

Islamist groups have been blamed for a number of attacks in the West African nation in recent years. Fighters affiliated to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group as well as the local Ansarul Islam have been active in the region.

Last month, attackers targeted a Protestant church in the town of Silgadji, killing at least six people. And earlier in April, four people died when a Catholic church was attacked in a nearby village, the bishop of Dori in northern Burkina Faso told Vatican news agency Fides.

Additional reporting by BBC

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