Ouagadougou [Burkina Faso]: At least four people lost their lives after a group of heavily armed individuals attacked a Catholic church in northern Burkina Faso on Sunday morning. The Christian community of Toulfe was the target of a terrorist attack gathered for Sunday prayers,” Al Jazeera quoted the bishop of Ouahigouya, Justin Kientega, as saying in a statement.

“The attack left four of the faithful dead,” the bishop added. The attack, which took place in the town of Toulfe located 240 kilometres northwest of Ouagadougou, marked the latest in a string of assaults on Christian places of worship in the region. “The attack caused panic in the village and many residents sought cover in their homes or in the bush,” a local resident told Al Jazeera.

Last week, gunmen killed four Catholics in a religious procession, days after a priest and five others were murdered at mass.
However, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks that threatened the existence of peaceful relations between majority Muslims and Christians, who make up one-quarter of the country. The government of Burkina Faso blamed unnamed armed groups operating in the country and Africa’s surrounding Sahel region.

France has deployed nearly 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in a mission codenamed Barkhane to help the local forces combat armed groups operating in the region. French Special Forces, this month, also freed four foreign hostages in the former French colony during an overnight raid that killed two soldiers.