Christians in northern Burkina Faso in fear after two more attacks
Two attacks on Christians in northern Burkina Faso in the last few days, in which 10 people were killed, has unnerved the Christian communities in the region even further.
On Monday, May 13, a procession of four Catholics was attacked while they returned a statue of Mary to their church in Singa, 25km from Kongoussi. The armed men let children go before killing four adults and destroying the statue.
One day earlier, between 20 and 30 armed men stormed a Catholic church in the same region, in village of Dablo, 90km from the city of Kaya, and opened fire on the worshippers. Six people were killed in the attack, among them 34-year-old Rev. Siméon Yampa. The funeral of the victims took place on Monday and was attended by representatives from different religious communities.
In addition, we got to know that before they left, the attackers burned down the church, shops and a health centre.
Also on Monday, suspected militants shot a Catholic priest in Dolbel, western Niger, media reports said. He survived the attack with gunshot wounds to one hand and a leg.
The attacks come two weeks after armed men gunmen raided a Protestant church in Silgadji village in the north-eastern province of Soum.
News agency, Reuters, further reported Paul Ouedraogo, president of the episcopal conference of Burkina Faso and Niger saying, “All of this indicates that our West African region is strongly troubled”.
The increased insecurity in the area has caused churches and schools to close and Christians have started to flee to safer towns in the country’s south.
“Christians are in hiding. No one dares to sleep in his house because of fear of being killed. It’s very hard for us. We need your prayers”, a local church leader, who wants to remain anonymous for security reasons, told Open Doors.
Burkina Faso has been long known for the peaceful co-existence between different religious communities, but the country has seen a rise in attacks by Islamist militants following the 2014 removal of long-time ruler Blaise Compaoré.
UN Secretary General, António Guterres condemned the attack and urged “all citizens of Burkina Faso to stand firmly with one another across communities and not to succumb to efforts to sow discord and breed further violence”.
Pray for God’s special comfort to be with those who have lost loved ones.
Pray for God to protect and strengthen our brothers and sisters going through a difficult time in the country.
Thank God for the efforts that the Government of Burkina Faso is taking to maintain peace.
• WWL 2019 Rank: 61 on the list of Persecution Watch Countries
• Main drivers of persecution: Islamic Oppression
• Population: 19.7 million
• Religion: Christian 25%; Muslim 54.5%, Ethnoreligionist 19.9%