A group of Islamic terrorists opened fire on a customs post in southern Burkina Faso Friday, slaying a missionary priest as well as four customs officials, Vatican News reported Saturday.
Father Antonio César Fernandez Fernandez, a Spanish priest of the Salesian order, had been working as a missionary in Africa for the last 37 years and helped to found the first Salesian community in Togo in 1982.
The 72-year-old priest was riding in a car with two confreres when the attack occurred, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the southern border of Burkina Faso. He was killed by three gunshot wounds but his companions escaped unharmed.
The three men were returning from Lome, Togo, where they had participated in the first session of the provincial chapter of the Salesians of Francophone West Africa.
Clashes between security forces and some jihadist groups have increased in recent months in Burkina Faso, but this is the first attack in this region of the country. Mali and Niger have been facing similar attacks for several years.
Burkina Faso is several hundred miles from Nigeria, where jihadists from the Boko Haram terror group have carried out deadly attacks for the past ten years. Boko Haram has reportedly killed some 30,000 people and forced another two million to flee their homes since the insurgency began in 2009.
Last month, Boko Haram terrorists killed more than 100 Nigerian soldiers and seized a huge stock of weapons during clashes in northeast Nigeria, according to a report from the Global Protection Cluster in Chad, a group of aid agencies led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Islamic terror attacks have intensified in northeastern Nigeria, the birthplace of Boko Haram, ever since late December. The lethal attacks have forced thousands of people to flee to safer areas within Nigeria and over the border into Chad, the report stated.
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