A priest and five churchgoers were shot dead during mass in an attack on a Catholic church in Dablo in northern Burkina Faso, security sources said.

Up to 30 attackers went into the church and opened fire.

The gunmen then set fire to the church, several shops and a small cafe before heading to the local health centre, which they looted, burning the chief nurse's vehicle.

Security reinforcements were sent from Barsalogho, about 45km south of Dablo, and were combing the area, a security source said..

The attack came two days after French special forces freed four foreign hostages in the north of the country in an overnight raid that cost the lives of two soldiers.

The operation was ordered to free French hostages Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas who disappeared while on holiday in the remote Pendjari National Park in Benin on 1 May.

Freed French hostages walk alongside a South Korean hostage upon their arrival in Paris yesterday

The team also found two other female captives, an American woman and a South Korean.

Today's church strike came two weeks after a similar attack against a Protestant church in Silgadji, also in the north, when gunmen on motorbikes killed a pastor and several worshippers.

Burkina Faso has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a number of jihadist groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

Nearly 400 people have been killed since 2015 - mainly in hit-and-run raids - according to an AFP tally.

Jihadist groups target both Muslim and Christian clerics, mainly in the north.

Former colonial ruler France has deployed some 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in a mission codenamed Barkhane to help local forces try to flush out jihadist groups.