A Catholic bishop in Burkina Faso has condemned an Islamist attack on a north-eastern village which left at least 160 people dead and urged residents to “keep faith and stay united”. Source: Crux.
“They executed them, purely and simply, and then burned the market, houses and shops, and the vehicles, lorries and transport parked outside,” Bishop Laurent Dabire of Dori said, decrying the June 5 attack on Solhan, a village in his diocese.
Although no group claimed responsibility, authorities blamed Islamists for the attack, which also left 40 people injured. It is believed the worst such violent incident since the start of an insurgency in 2015.
In a Vatican Radio interview on Sunday, Bishop Dabire, president of the bishops’ conference of Burkina Faso and Niger, said he believed the attack was retaliation for local involvement in a government-backed civil defence militia, set up in 2020 in the gold-mining area.
The early morning attack fuelled a “sense of powerlessness”, Bishop Dabire said.
“People would like to do something, but what can they do, when faced with an invisible enemy, unknown and well-armed?” the bishop asked.
“We must not lose confidence in life, keeping faith firmly in hope, and staying united in face of the violence falling on us, in order to explore all solutions, including dialogue,” he added.
Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore urged citizens to “stand united against evil forces,” and declared three days of national mourning after the attack, which followed an assault a day earlier on another village, Tadaryat, which left 14 dead.