Gunmen killed four worshippers and a pastor in the first jihadist attack on a church in Burkina Faso, security and local sources said Monday, in the latest violence to rock the formerly peaceful west African nation.
Sunday’s raid took place in the small northern town of Silgadji near Djibo, the capital of Soum province.
“Unidentified armed individuals have attacked the Protestant church in Silgadji, killing four members of the congregation and the main pastor,” a security source told AFP.
“At least two other people are missing,” the source added.
It was the first attack on a church since jihadist violence erupted in Burkina Faso in 2015.
Former colonial ruler France has deployed some 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad in a mission codenamed ‘Barkhane’ to help local forces try to flush out jihadist groups.
“The attack happened around 1:00 pm, just as the faithful were leaving the church at the end of the service,” a member of the church who did not want to be identified told AFP.
“The attackers were on motorbikes. They fired in the air before aiming at the members of the congregation,” the witness added.
Burkina Faso has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a number of jihadist groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
The raids began in 2015 in the north before targetting the capital, Ouagadougou and other regions, notably in the east.
A total of 350 people have been killed since 2015 -mainly in hit-and-run raids -according to an AFP tally.
The jihadist groups regularly target both Muslim and Christian clerics, mainly in the north.
In February, a Spanish Catholic priest, Father Cesar Fernandez, was killed in a raid attributed to jihadists in Nohao in the centre of the country. He was returning from the adjoining country of Togo when it happened.
Fernandez, 72, had been working in Africa since 1982 for the Salesians of Don Bosco order.
In March, gunmen abducted Catholic priest Father Joel Yougbare from Botogui, near Djibo, in the north. The Catholic Church has not yet confirmed reports that his body has since been found.
Several imams have also been killed in the north.
According to security sources, the jihadists do not consider these Muslim clerics sufficiently radical and sometimes accuse them of having collaborated with the authorities.
But religious leaders are not the only people targeted by the extremists. On Friday, jihadists attacked a village school in Maitaougou, in the eastern province of Koulpelogo, killing five teachers and a municipal worker.
Human Right Watch’s Sahel director, Corinne Dufka, recently said that the surge in jihadist violence and a government crackdown had “forced tens of thousands of villagers to flee since early 2019.
“Scores of people have been murdered in what amounts to a dramatic deterioration in the rights situation in northern Burkina Faso,” she said last month.
“Villagers are living in fear as both armed Islamists and government forces have demonstrated utter disregard for human life.”
Around 4.3 million people have been driven from their homes in the worsening violence that has engulfed the entire Sahel region, including one million over the past year, according to UN humanitarian officials.
Zozibini Tunzi sends message to South Africans after being crowned Miss Universe
The show which lasted 3 hours was hosted by Steve Harvey and former beauty queen and actress, Vanessa Lachey
Reigning Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi has been crowned Miss Universe 2019. The Beauty queen’s crowning as the 68th Miss Universe took place on Sunday, 8 December 2019 at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
The show which lasted 3 hours was hosted by the famous comedian, Steve Harvey alongside former beauty queen and actress, Vanessa Lachey.
Ally Brooke from Fifth Harmony musical group thrilled the audience with her wonderful performances.
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Beautiful Tunzi was crowned by departing Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray as pageantry tradition demands. Tunzi is now the third South African to have been crowned Miss Universe. Others were Margaret Gardiner and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters who were crowned in 1978 and 2017 respectively.
Her crowning also launched the brand-new “Power of Unity” crown which is said to be worth about R73 million.
The newly-crowned queen has come out to thank South Africans for the support they gave her during the pageantry. While speaking after her victory, the 26-year who hails from Tsolo, Sidwadweni in East Cape said:
“Ah, I’m so ecstatic. I think everyone is still waking up by the way. They are going to wake up to a storm of news. I don’t think I have ever had as much support as I did coming into the Miss South Africa crown and so I think this will be something extra and very special for everyone back at home.”
South Africans are awake and have reacted brilliantly to the news of Zozibini Tunzi being crowned Miss Universe 2019 on Twitter. See what some have said:
While one Twitter user who goes by the handle @Loisabels18 refers to the fact that Zozibini Tunzi was crowned by the immediate past Miss Universe from the Philippines who received her own crown from a former South African Miss Universe, another user tweeted “…Nothing could ever beat natural African beauty.”
Body recovered after vehicle plunges into Indian Ocean
Police and family members have identified the sole occupant of the vehicle as John Mutinda, 46
The body of a man and his vehicle have been recovered from the Likoni channel, Kenya, following an accident where his car plunged into the ocean at 4:20 am local time on Saturday morning. Police and family members have identified the sole occupant of the vehicle as John Mutinda, 46.
According to a statement issued Bakari Gowa, the Managing Director of the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS), the driver attempted to avoid the toll station and drove into the loading area from the wrong side of the road. Attempts to were made by ferry staff to stop him but he proceeded to drive at top speed off the ramp and into the ocean.
Multi-agency rescue efforts by the Kenya Coast Guard, the Kenya Ferry Services, the Kenya Navy and the Police were launched immediately. The body of the deceased was subsequently recovered at 9:30 am on Saturday morning and transported to the Coast General Hospital Mortuary by police. Retrieval efforts continued thereafter, resulting in the retrieval of the vehicle from the channel at 12:00 pm.
The accident comes barely three months after a woman and child tragically drowned in a separate accident when their vehicle reversed while on a ferry and sank into the channel mid-transit.
Tropical cyclone Pawan makes landfall in Nugaal, Somalia
The storm hit the coastal city of Eyl in the Nugaal region, bringing with it heavy rainfall and turbulent winds.
Tropical cyclone Pawan has made landfall on Saturday morning, affecting the northeastern part of Somalia as predicted earlier in the week.
The storm hit the coastal city of Eyl in the Nugaal region, bringing with it heavy rainfall and turbulent winds. The town has borne the brunt of the storm, with locals reporting of fishermen’s boats capsizing off the coast and a cell tower belonging to Golis Telecom falling and causing damage to adjacent buildings.
A forecast issued by the Somali Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) on Tuesday warned of heavy rainfall and strong winds over the north and central parts of the Horn of Africa country over the course of the next few days.
Elsewhere in Puntland state, the regional government delayed all flights leaving Garowe airport as a result of heavy rains and floods, by-products of the cyclone. There have also been local reports of 2 vehicles being swept away near Bossasso.
The storm is expected to decline in intensity as it moves inland.
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