Another attack in Burkina Faso kills 14 Christians: ‘The attacks have shattered the lives of our people’

December 2, 2019 by Christopher Summers in Africa

Attackers have launched another brutal onslaught on Christians in Burkina Faso.

 

On December 1, armed men stormed a Protestant church in the town of Hantoukoura, near Burkina Faso’s border with Niger. They killed the pastor, Tchintchiéba Ouoba and 13 other worshipers, including five children under 18—one victim was only 12 years old. The attackers fled on motorcycles or scooters.

Other details remain unknown. No one has claimed responsibility yet for the attack, but it is assumed to be the work of one of the several Islamic extremist groups active in the country—which include ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Pastor Samuel Sawadogo, who cares for displaced Christians in Kaya, Burkina Faso, recently spoke with an Open Doors field team about the brutal attacks against Christians in his country. “We don’t know who the attackers are, neither do we know who is sponsoring them,” he says. “All we know is that they attack Christians. These attacks have shattered the lives of our people. We are troubled and filled with pain over the deaths of our family members.”

“We are deeply shocked at yet another attack, and the fact that children as young as 12 were not spared,” says the Open Doors director in sub-Saharan Africa, JP Pretorius. “The shock and trauma these attacks cause are unimaginable. Our brothers and sisters in Burkina Faso need fervent prayer and urgent support to remain full of hope and unified in the face of increasing hostility. Church leaders in particular need God’s protection and wisdom as they minister to their flock, while facing specific targeting themselves.”

This latest attack brings the total number of Christians killed this year to at least 41 in Burkina Faso, over the course of nine reported jihadist attacks in 2019. An unknown number of pastors and their families have been abducted.

Earlier this year, an Open Doors team traveled to the affected parts of Burkina Faso to learn what the situation is for Christians there, and to work with church leaders there. Their report was startling—pastors and regional experts believe that targeted attacks against Christian by Islamic militants are intended to completely upend the peace in the Sahel region, which is a large part of northeastern Burkina Faso bordering Mali and Niger.

The insecurity in Burkina Faso has been building since 2014. Originally, the conflicts were focused mainly in the north, but this year has been spreading to the east during 2019, as reported by ACAPS, an independent humanitarian information provider. The violence has led to a significant humanitarian crisis. According to the United Nations, the violence has resulted in nearly 500,000 people becoming displaced.

As part of an overall strategy of help for persecuted believers in Burkina Faso, Open Doors has focused recently on the socio-economic elements of our integrated help to individuals and communities across West Africa. During late October, for example, Open Doors was able to deliver relief aid to 560 of the most vulnerable Christian families forced to flee northern Burkina Faso to safer areas of the country.

Open Doors seeks helps Christians deal with the realities they face under radical Islamic ideologies in West Africa. We have been running integrated programs in West African countries to help Christians who are on the receiving end of radical Islamic ideology as they strive to remain firm in the faith. This includes persecution preparedness training, discipleship training, economic empowerment, ministry specifically to Muslim converts, leadership training and trauma care.

Open Doors was able to provide emergency aid to displaced Christians in Burkina Faso, seen here.

In the meantime, we can pray for our sisters and brothers as they mourn this latest attack, and try to recover. Will you join us?

  1. Please pray for the Lord’s comfort and grace to be at work in the lives of all who have lost loved ones in the latest attack and that He would be close to the brokenhearted.
  2. Pray that Christians would have the grace to remain firm in the faith as they face increased hostility and not give in to the temptation of tribalism and anger towards Muslims but continue to trust the Lord to fight their cause.
  3. Many people, including Christians, have been severely traumatized by the deterioration in security and the displacement they suffered. Please pray the Lord will be at work in their lives to bring healing and comfort and to provide in their every need.
  4. The extremist ideologies sweeping across the Sahel have brought destruction to so many lives. Please pray that the Lord would use these circumstances to display His glory. Pray that the Lord will draw in the many who are lost to Himself.
  5. Pray for the role the Church plays in ministering to people. Thank the Lord for their determination to continue sharing Christ with the lost. Pray for wisdom and courage.
  6. Please pray that the government would receive wisdom and display accountability as they seek to create order in the affected areas.
  7. Pray for all international forces helping in the fight against extremists in the larger region. Pray they would be able to help bring stability and prevent the spread of violence to Burkina Faso’s neighbors.
  8. Pray for wisdom and provision for Open Doors as we determine the appropriate interventions. Pray for the protection over staff as they travel to volatile regions. Pray for His blessing on all logistics.

Help Christians in Burkina Faso—and around the world!

Open Doors was recently able to provide more than 500 Christian families in Burkina Faso with much-needed emergency relief aid. But this kind of work wouldn’t be possible without help from people like you!

The best way to help believers in these kinds of emergencies is to become a Frontline Partner. When you sign up to be a Frontline Partner, your monthly gift will go to fund emergency relief like the kind provided in Burkina Faso, along with long-term help for things like persecution preparedness training, discipleship training, Bible programs and more—in Burkina Faso, and in other places where Christians are under threat for their faith.

Will you join us, today?

Become a Frontline Partner
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