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“ISLAMIC TERROR GROUPS”
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 12, 2019) — Amid a rising number of attacks on Christian churches this year, a priest holding mass on Sunday morning and five others were murdered by a group of terrorists on motorcycles in the northern section of the West-African nation of Burkina Faso.
The country, previously known as the Republic of Upper Volta, was renamed in 1984, experiencing two coups since that time. After an uprising by the people in 2014, the then-president relinquished power, and an election was held the following year.
“Burkina Faso” means “Land of Honest Men,” according to the BBC.
“The landlocked country in northwest Africa has been beset by extremist violence in recent months as Islamist terror groups expand their reach,” CNN reported Sunday.
After an attack on a school in northern Burkina Faso in December, the BBC termed it “the country where it’s too dangerous to go to school.” The article described the attackers as “jihadist militants.” At the time, more than one-third of the country’s schools were shuttered, affecting more than 150,000 elementary-school students, the BBC said.
In 2016, terrorist attacks in the former French colony numbered 12, increasing to 33 in 2017 and 158 last year. Jihadists reportedly belong to Al Qaeda, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, Ansarul Islam, and the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), according to two sources.
Last month, ten people were killed in two separate attacks, one on a Protestant church and the other on a Catholic church. In addition to the Catholic church attack Sunday, the killers set fire to “several shops and a small cafe,” according to RTÉ, an Irish “national public service” broadcasting company.
Located in the “Sahel” area of the African continent, nations such as Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria have become battlegrounds for competing Islamic terrorist groups. In a comprehensive report on the growing threat, the BBC reported last June:
Extremist groups have grown and divided, splintered and reformed, as those backed by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group battle for power and influence.
Boko Haram, and its offshoot, the Islamic State in West Africa Province, have displaced and terrorised hundreds of thousands of people in north-eastern Nigeria and the bordering countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Splits in the leadership and a concerted effort by the Nigerian army has eaten into their influence, but the kidnap of schoolchildren and the use of young suicide bombers continues.
But it’s further west – mainly in Mali and the border regions of Burkina Faso and Niger – where attacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication.