Gunmen kill Spanish Priest in Burkina Faso

Suspected jihadists killed a Spanish Priest alongside four customs officers  in Burkina Faso, which is struggling with a radical Islamist insurgency.

The Salesians of Don Bosco said: “The Spanish Salesian Antonio Cesar Fernandez was assassinated during a jihadist attack between Togo and Burkina Faso,” around 3:00 pm local time on Friday.”

Fernandez and two others were returning from a meeting in the Togolese capital Lome when they “were attacked by gunmen after crossing the border between Togo and Burkina Faso”, the head of the order, Jose Elegbede, said in a statement.

“After searching the car, they pulled Cesar from the group and the men shot him,” Elegbede added.

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The group’s chauffeur, Fabrice Aziawo, said the gunmen captured them at a checkpoint.

“Armed men took us into the forest, Cesar and me. I heard shots. They told me to turn around and I saw Cesar lying on the ground.”

Cesar Fernandez, 72, had been working in Africa since 1982, said his order, the Salesians of don Bosco, in a statement on Twitter.

In a separate attack, gunmen targeted customs officers who set up a mobile post in Nohao, near the border with Togo on Friday evening, killing four of them, a security source told AFP.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered his condolences to the family and colleagues of the priest.

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“I am absolutely revolted by this attack and my respect to those… who risk their lives to work in conflict zones,” he added on Twitter.

A local security source said the attack was carried out by “a group of around 20 gunmen who then fled into a wooded zone”.

More than 300 people have been killed in the country in four years of jihadist attacks, according to an AFP count.

Source: AFP

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