Church attack leaves 15 dead in Burkina Faso

At least 15 civilians were killed and two others injured during a "terrorist" attack on a Catholic church during Sunday mass in northern Burkina Faso, a senior church official has said.

"We bring to your attention a terrorist attack which the Catholic community of Essakane village was the victim of today, February 25, while they were gathered for Sunday prayer," the vicar of the Dori diocese, Jean-Pierre Sawadogo, said in a statement sent to AFP on Sunday.

The provisional toll was 15 killed and two wounded, he added.

Calling for peace and security in Burkina Faso, Sawadogo denounced "those who continue to wreak death and desolation in our country".

This is just the latest in a series of atrocities blamed on militant groups active in the region, some of which have targeted Christian churches while others have involved the abduction of clergy.

Burkina Faso is part of the vast Sahel region, which has been locked in a battle against rising violent extremism since Libya's civil war in 2011.

The insurgency spilled over into Burkina Faso and Niger from 2015..

Around 20,000 people in Burkina Faso have been killed in that violence, while over two million have been displaced.