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Burkibabe bishop recounts the kidnap of American nun

Father Théophile Naré, the bishop of Kaya.   -  
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Cleared / AFP

Burkina Faso

The bishop of Kaya, in troubled northern Burkina Faso, gives details of the night of the kidnapping of the 83-year-old American nun, Sister Suellen Tennyson by gunmen.

The nun was abducted by unidentified armed men in Yalgo, a locality located about 102 km from Kaya, the capital of the northern region of Ouagadougou.

"They took one of the sisters' -, and they started dragging Sister Suellen. You saw in my statement, this is an elderly sister, she is 83 years old and she only speaks English really well. She understands French but she can't speak it.

They dragged the sister who, on her way out, called the names of her sisters as if to say, "What is happening? What will become of me?" And she would have said more but in English. That's how they dragged her out. They started to walk away."

Northern Burkina Faso is a flashpoint for attacks by Islamist insurgents who started making bloody cross-border raids from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

"Several times, I raised the possibility of an attack with the sisters who always told me, "No, we are the ones who take care of them, they can't do that to us, we all know each other in Yalgo!" Well, it happened anyway", Théophile Naré, Bishop of Kaya further added.

Mutinous colonels seized power as anger mounted over the failure of the country's elected president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, to roll back the insurgency.

Kabore's successor, Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, has declared security to be a priority.

But a surge of attacks in the past two weeks has claimed about 80 lives, both civilian and military