There has been another brutal attack on Christians in Burkina Faso, West Africa.
On Sunday December 1, armed men stormed a Protestant church in the town of Hantoukoura near the border with Niger. They killed the pastor, Tchintchiéba Ouoba and 13 other worshippers, including five teenagers. The attackers fled on scooters.
This is the latest in a series of attacks specifically targeting Christians. At least 41 Christians have been killed in 9 reported jihadist attacks since the beginning of the year. An unknown number of pastors and their families have been abducted and remain in captivity, and many Churches in the north have been closed to prevent further attacks.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is assumed to be the work of an Islamic extremist group. Although there are many factors contributing to unrest and violence in Burkina Faso, clearly some militants are deliberately targeting Christians because of their faith. Extremists have started expelling Christians from their villages, with villagers given an ultimatum: convert to Islam or leave your homes. Many thousands of Christians are now living in IDP camps or seeking refuge with family and friends.
Pastor Samuel Sawadogo, who cares for displaced Christians in the city of Kaya, Burkina Faso, told Open Doors, “We don't know who the attackers are, neither do we know who is sponsoring them. 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."
Families in pain
Details are still emerging, but according to local media, the victims are:
- Pastor Tchintchiéba Ouoba
- Boudjargou Ouoba
- Paripougni Ouoba
- Hamiyabdi Ouoba
- Kondjoa Ouoba (42)
- Taladi Ouoba
- Mandienpo Ouoba
- Tchientchiadi Ouoba
- Yampani Ouoba (14)
- Yensougri Ouoba (16)
- Kondjoa Ouoba (15)
- Kokoada Ouoba
- Mimpama Ouoba (14)
- Lamoudi Ouoba (12).
Please pray for the grieving families, and for the traumatised community in Hantoukoura.
Support and speak up
In recent months, Open Doors teams have been visiting Christians in Burkina Faso to assess the situation, to provide prayer and encouragement and to deliver relief aid to some of the most vulnerable Christians.
You can support victims of violence in Africa. Open Doors works through local partners and churches to strengthen persecuted believers in Africa through Bible distribution, leadership and trauma care training, emergency relief, community development and advocacy support.
And as we enter election season, please help us to make sure every candidate knows that global persecution is a key issue for many voters and that every candidate commits to taking action, if elected, on behalf of those facing persecution.
‘Elimination of the Christian presence’
Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in Burkina Faso as violence and instability has spread.
Armed terrorist groups have spread into the country from bases in neighbouring Mali, exploiting widespread disaffection with the government, and a power vacuum which followed the end of former President Blaise Compaoré’s 27-year rule. The insecurity that have been building since 2014 and had been focused mainly in the north has been spreading further east over the past few months. Now some eastern areas are under the control of various Islamic militant forces. They are attempting to turn their territory into an Islamic state, with severe punishments meted out for ‘sinful’ behaviour.
But Christians have been especially singled out.
The Open Doors director for the work in Sub Sahara Africa, commented, “We are deeply shocked at yet another attack, and the fact that children as young as 12 were not spared. 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."
Please pray for our teams, and for the suffering people in Burkina Faso. As one Christian leader warned, “If the world continues to do nothing, the result will be the elimination of the Christian presence”.
Urgent prayer needed
Christians in Burkina Faso need our prayers. 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
- 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, anger or revenge
- for the role the Church plays in helping the victims and for their determination to continue sharing Christ with the lost
- fhat the government would act wisely and effectively as they seek to bring order to the affected areas
- for wisdom and provision for Open Doors as we determine the appropriate ways to help, and for protection over staff as they travel to volatile regions.