At least 14 people died after gunmen opened fire in a Protestant church in Burkina Faso during a service on Sunday, according to reports.

The attack, which took place in the Fada N’Gourma area near the border with Niger, is the latest in a string of incidents by Islamic extremists targeting Christians in the West African nation. As well as at least 14 deaths, many more were said to be wounded in the latest attack.

Vatican News reported that in a statement provided to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Catholic Bishop Justin Kientega of Ouahigouya in the country's north said the insurgents were “trying to create a conflict between religions in a country in which Christians and Muslims have always gotten along".

He also said the perpetrators of such attacks spread terror to gain control of the land left behind by those who flee the violence and called on Western powers to intervene, linking the ongoing violence with the arms trade.

“Western powers must stop those who commit these crimes,” he said, “rather than sell them weapons they use to kill Christians.”

At least 60 Christians have reportedly been killed in Burkina Faso so far this year.