VATICAN, JUNE 8, 2021 (CISA) – Pope Francis has expressed closeness and prayed for the victims of a massacre that took place June 4 and 5 in village of Solhan, located in Yagha Province, near the border with Niger, in the country’s Sahel region.
“I wish to assure you of my prayers for the victims of the massacre which took place on the night of Friday to Saturday in a small town in Burkina Faso. I am close to their families and to the entire Burkinabé people who are suffering greatly from these repeated attacks. Africa needs peace and not violence,” he said June 6 at the Angelus prayer.
According to a government statement released June 5, the attackers struck on the night of June 4 and June 5, killing residents of the village of Solhan in Yagha province. They also burned homes and the market. The death toll from the attack in has risen to at least 132.
President Roch Kaboré announced 72 hours national mourning period for the victims of the attack.
“…I bow to the memory of the hundred civilians killed in this barbaric attack and send my condolences to the families of the victims. Faced with this tragedy, I decreed a national mourning of 72 hours, from this day at 00:00. The defense and security forces are hard at work to find and neutralize the perpetrators of this despicable act. We must remain united against these forces of evil,” the President tweeted on June 5.
The latest attack pushes the number killed by armed Islamists in the Sahel region to over 500 since January, according to Human Rights Watch’s West Africa director, Corinne Dufka.
According to UN, In Sahel, peace and development have in recent years been threatened by increasing internal and cross-borders security challenges including armed conflicts and extreme attacks by jihadist groups.
The region has observed a devastating surge in attacks, since 2015, leading to one of the world’s most acute humanitarian crises.