Pray! Burkina Faso’s military overthrows government, shuts down borders

January 25, 2022 by Lindy Lowry in Africa

Please pray with us for a developing situation in Burkina Faso (No. 32 on the new 2022 World Watch List). Soldiers in the army have mutinied and led a coup, ousting President Roch Kabore from political control of the West African nation and shutting down its borders.

Two days ago on Sunday, gunshots were heard in the city capital of Ougadogou near the presidential palace and at several barracks in city with news coverage showing armored vehicles, reportedly used by the presidency, with bullet holes and abandoned in the street. Reports indicate that the president has been placed under military arrest and taken to a military camp though his specific whereabouts are unknown.

A day later on Monday, Burkina Faso’s army announced on state television that it had ousted President Kabore, suspended the constitution, dissolved the government and the national assembly and closed the country’s borders.

The statement was made in the name of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), a previously unheard-of entity: “MPSR, which includes all sections of the army, has decided to end President Kabore’s post today,” the statement said. On TV, Captain Sidsore Kader Ouedraogo said the military had seized power in response to the “ongoing degradation of the security situation” in the country and the “incapacity of the government” to unite the population. Sitting alongside him was Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, who was introduced as the country’s new leader.

A spokesperson for the MPSR told journalists they were demanding “appropriate” resources and training for their fight against militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State group. They also demanded the resignation of the army and intelligence chiefs and better welfare for wounded soldiers and their families. The MPSR said it would propose a calendar for a return to constitutional order “within a reasonable time frame, after consultations with various sections of the nation.”

The group’s actions have been both celebrated and condemned. Inside the country, crowds of civilians desperate for change have championed the coup while the international community has already issued statements against it.

In a statement, a U.N. spokesman said that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “strongly condemns any attempted takeover of government by the force of arms” in Burkina Faso and calls on the coup leaders to lay down their weapons.

The map below shows where Islamist extremist activity is concentrated in West Africa’s Sahel region.

No. 32 on the World Watch List

Burkina Faso is #32 on the newly released 2022 World Watch List, with a predominantly Muslim majority. The coup is another of many upheavals Burkinabe believers have faced in recent years. The growing insurgency of Islamic extremist groups has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, including many Christians, in the northern and eastern regions where Islam is the dominant religion. In the last few years, Christians and churches have been targeted in repeated extremist attacks in which believers were told to renounce their faith or die for it.

While life on the ground seems to be relatively calm at present, we know from past examples of political instability that criminal and militant groups often use these kinds of situations to target civilians and churches.

Our contact in the capital extended his gratitude for the response he’s received so far: “Thank you for your various prayers which support our country Burkina Faso. The events of January 23-24 could have been worse, but through your prayers God has extended that mighty hand.”

Download the newly released 2022 World Watch List

Please pray with Burkinabe Christians

Our contact in Burkina Faso shares the following prayer requests:

  • Pray for the new government of Burkina Faso. We ask for godly wisdom to rule the land in the fear of God. Pray that these leaders will be led according to God’s will and principles for lasting peace.
  • Pray that all the decisions, laws and the decrees that will be made will promote religious freedom and protect all citizens despite their religious affiliation.
  • Pray for unity in our country as we fight against extremist groups in Burkina Faso: unity between the military authorities, the population and the opposition for peace and victory.
  • Pray for the growing insecurity in Burkina Faso.
  • Pray for the internally displaced in Burkina, living in large cities such as Kaya, Ouahigouya, Koungoussi, Fada, ouaga, Banfora, Bogande, Bobo-Dioulasso, Mangodara, etc. May God continue to provide for their needs (health, food, clothing and safety).
  • Pray for displaced Christians. Ask God to help them stand firm in their faith in these difficult times.
  • Pray for non-Christians who are displaced. May they come to know Jesus through our brothers and sisters’ faithful and courageous sharing of the gospel.
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