Attack on Catholic church in Burkina Faso leaves six dead

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(CNN) — Six people were killed Sunday during mass at a Catholic church in central Burkina Faso, according to state media.

Gunmen on motorcycles stormed the church in Dablo on Sunday morning, killing six men, including the priest, before setting fire to the church and buildings in the area, the Burkina Information Agency reported.

In February, CNN reported that the U.S. was considering sending additional military advisers as well as intelligence and surveillance assets such as drones to Burkina Faso to help combat a growing terrorist threat.

The landlocked country in northwest Africa has been beset by extremist violence in recent months as Islamist terror groups expand their reach.

The number of violent incidents in the country linked to the local affiliates of al Qaeda and ISIS rose from 24 in 2017 to 136 in 2018, according to a report by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

The Trump administration last year announced plans to cut the number of U.S. troops in Africa by around 10%. One defense official told CNN that the planned reductions would eventually lower the number of U.S. counterterrorism troops and their enablers who support operations by approximately 20%.

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