At least 15 worshippers were killed, with others injured, during an attack on a mosque in northern Burkina Faso in the village of Salmossi in the north of the country. The attack happened on Friday evening, as many gathered for prayer.
According to AFP news, 13 worshippers died on the spot inside the mosque, while at least two others died of their injuries later. Many remain in critical condition.
Close to the border with Mali, numerous areas in and around this part of Burkina Faso have seen an increasing number of attacks by extremists groups in the region, with hundreds killed in just the last few years. After this attack on Friday, many villagers fled into neighboring Mali to escape any follow-up attack.
While no group has claimed responsibility, many are pointing towards the so-called “Islamic” extremists groups coming from Mali, who had taken over complete control of the north of the country before being pushed out by the French in 2012. These groups are either heavily influenced by or directly connected to Al Qaeda or IS.
While these extremists groups continue to seize territory and conduct attacks, the UN Refugee agency says that more than a quarter of a million people in Burkina Faso have been forced to flee their homes in just the past few months. Thousands of schools in the region have also been forced to close down since 2015, with the fighting and attacks by these extremist groups targeting more often than not innocent villages and school children.
As innocent Muslims continue to be targeted and killed by so called “Islamic” groups bent on a twisted form of extremism, it remains to be seen what the fate of small villages like Salmossi will succumb to. As of now, thousands continue to flee in neighboring regions or bordering countries, being forced to become refugees in their own homeland.