Salesian priest killed, another injured in Burkina Faso

Rome, May 22, 2019: A 60-year-old Salesian priest was stabbed to death and another wounded in the Don Bosco center in southwest Burkina Faso.

A former cook, who worked in the facility for seven years, stabbed to death Father Fernando Fernandez, a Spaniard, on May 17.

He also wounded Fr Germain Plakoo-Mlapa of Togolese origin, who was rushed to a hospital where he was declared out of danger. Father Mlapa was the director of studies at the center in Bobo-Dioulasso, some 355 km southwest of the national capital of Ouagadougou.

The police immediately arrested the assailant, according to Fides news agency.

A police investigation is now underway. The Salesians have worked in Bobo-Dioulasso since 1994. They manage a center for street boys and girls, a literacy center and a professional training center with more than 300 students.

The incident was the latest in a series of attacks on religious communities in Burkina Faso.

On February 15, another Spanish Salesian, Father Antonio César Fernández Fernández was killed in a jihadist attack, some 40 km from the southern border of Burkina Faso.

On May 13, gunmen killed four Catholics in a Marian procession in northern Burkina Faso a day after a priest and five parishioners were murdered at Mass, church officials said.

The parade with a statue of the Virgin Mary was moving through the town of Ouahigouya when “a group of terrorists intercepted the procession, killing four worshipers and burning the statue,” said a spokesman for the Ouagadougou cathedral.

According to the Burkina Faso news agency AIB, the assailants stopped the procession. “They let the minors go, executed four adults, and destroyed the statue,” it quoted a local person as saying.

Archbishop Paul Ouedraogo, president of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger, told a meeting of bishops in Ouagadougou the attack had claimed four lives.

The killings came a day after a group of 20-30 armed men, according to witnesses, burst into the Catholic church in Dablo, also in the Nord Region of Burkina Faso, shooting dead five parishioners and their priest.

The attackers set fire to the church, several shops and a small cafe before heading to the health center, which they looted, burning the chief nurse’s vehicle.

Two days earlier, French special forces had freed four foreign hostages in Burkina Faso during an overnight raid that cost the lives of two soldiers.

(Source: Fides agency and

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