Jihadis committed two attacks on Sunday – one was an attack on a mosque in eastern Burkina Faso, and the other was a deadly attack on Catholics attending Mass, according to AFP. 

The victims in the mosque attack were all Muslims. A local source said, ‘The terrorists entered the town early morning. They surrounded the mosque and shot at the faithful, who were gathered there for the first prayer of the day’.

Soldiers and members of the Volunteers for the Defence of the Fatherland (VDP), a civilian force that supports the military, were also targeted.

On the same day, at least 15 civilians were killed and two others wounded in an attack on a Catholic church in northern Burkina Faso, a senior church official said.

The attack occurred in the village of Essakane in what is known as the “three borders” zone near the common borders of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Pope Francis on Monday deplored the ‘tragic terrorist attack on a Catholic church in Essakane’ and expressed his ‘pain’ over the attacks on Muslims, according to the Vatican’s Secretary of State.

Burkina Faso is ruled by a military junta led by Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who seized power in 2022; it was the second coup in under a year. Both coups were triggered in part by discontent at government failures to quell jihadist violence.

Burkina Faso has been battling rising violent extremism since Libya’s civil war in 2011 and an Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012.

The jihadist insurgency spilled over into Burkina Faso and Niger from 2015.

NGOs say that around 20,000 people in Burkina Faso have been killed in the jihadist violence. The UN says over two million have been displaced.