The brutal attacks have killed and injured dozens of Christians. The violence in other West African countries like Nigeria has certainly enveloped Burkina Faso, says Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Greg Musselman.
“Already Burkina Faso has become a place where the attacks by militant Islamics is increasing. Again, as an example, from January of 2016 to 2019, there were 1800 killed. And in 2016, [just] 80. So this is becoming more and more intense, and it’s definitely a place of concern. For the . . . Christians that are living there, this is a nightmare.”
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Musselman shared a story of another attack in which a pastor and his family were kidnapped and later executed. He says Christian communities have been deeply hurt in Burkina Faso by these constant heartbreaking attacks.
Who is responsible?
Musselman suggested a couple of possibilities: the Islamic State of West Africa and Boko Haram from Nigeria. Boko Haram continues to gain more territory in Nigeria, and has been known to intrude into Burkina Faso.
And certainly the pattern of attacks mirrors the start of Boko Haram’s dominance in Nigeria. Musselman says the United Nations has made statements about the attacks and is increasing relief efforts in the country.
“You’ve got 600,000 people that are internally displaced, and that becomes a problem. So, at this point, it is one of the world’s fastest growing human humanitarian crisis, and the numbers seem to be getting worse. And again . . . the number of people displaced in Burkina Faso has risen 1200 percent in 2019, and it is continuing right into 2020.”
Voice of the Martyrs’ next goal is sending people into Burkina Faso to help rebuild churches, aid the bereaved, and bring some stability into the war zone.
Pray for Burkina Faso
As radical militant Islamic groups terrorize the country, Musselman asks believers to pray that the general population would not be caught up in the fervor and join the fight. “The leaders in the country, the Muslims, and the Christians, really need to be saying, ‘Look, we have lived at peace for decades. Burkina Faso is known [for] having harmony within their culture.’”
Pray also that the Church in Burkina Faso would be able to show grace and mercy while at the same time protecting themselves. For those grieving the loss of loved ones, pray that Christ would comfort them with the hope of His return.
Most of all, Musselman says, “In the middle of all that, too is the [proclamation], the message of peace that Jesus came to bring to this earth. Really, that’s the only thing that is going to stop this from getting out of control.”
National heroes memorial (monument of martyrs), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)