Displaying items by tag: Burkina Faso
Farming used to be a key source of income in Burkina Faso, but the climate crisis has made the weather unpredictable, crops fail, and families have few other opportunities to earn money to survive. 80% of the population is dependent on agriculture to earn an income. When crops fail, families go hungry, and they are forced to make hard decisions so that they can survive. Parents are now sending their children to work in the gold mines. It is dangerous and no place for a child, nevertheless thousands of children now work there. They work instead of going to school, and miss out on being children, playing with their friends, learning, and dreaming. However, Tearfund’s local partner CREDO is working with farmers to help restore the soil and provide training on new farming techniques and harvesting climate-resistant crops.
Islamist violence against Christians has surged, causing thousands to flee their villages. Recently armed jihadists launched three attacks within 48 hours that left 58+ dead. Fifteen died when a convoy of Christian traders, including children, was attacked on 29 May. On 30 May, Islamists opened fire at random in a cattle market, killing 30+ people and injuring many more. On the same day a humanitarian convoy was attacked, claiming the lives of six civilians and seven soldiers. Another twenty were injured, and a number were reported missing. A survivor said it was clear that militants were targeting Christians and humanitarians taking food to a camp of mainly Christian villagers who fled jihadi violence. The vicious attacks targeting Christians began in April 2019 when a pastor, his son, and four members of his congregation were shot in cold blood for refusing to convert to Islam.
Twenty-four people, including the pastor, were killed and eighteen injured by gunmen at a Protestant church in the village of Pansi. Individuals were also kidnapped during the Sunday attack by armed terrorists. The regional governor, Colonel Salfo Kabore, said they attacked the peaceful local Christian population, after having identified them and separated them from ‘non-residents’. Some villagers fled to the town of Sebba near the Niger border. There have been several attacks against churches by militant Islamist groups in recent years. Pray for those people of Burkina Faso who are at serious risk of being killed for not converting to extreme factions of Islam.
When the Burkinabe people gained independence in 1960, the motto ‘Unity, progress, justice’ embodied hope for them. Currently almost eighty ethnic groups embrace religious practices: earth priests, fortune tellers, healers, witchcraft, and animal sacrifice. Recently the president of the Episcopal Conference said that over 200 churches have closed in the north of the country to avoid attacks. If the world continues to do nothing, the result will be the elimination of a Christian presence. Muslims and Christians had enjoyed a peaceful coexistence. But this once-peaceful country has turned into a hotbed for extremism, and a long-held peace is under threat. Christians were specifically targeted in recent attacks. The violence has taken hundreds of lives (Muslim and Christian) and displaced tens of thousands more, as Islam rapidly spreads into nearly every ethnic group. Unreached peoples are steadily turning to Islamic teachings.
THEY REFUSED TO DENOUNCE JESUS — PASTOR, 5 OTHERS SHOT AFTER CHURCH SERVICE IN BURKINA FASO
Last Sunday seemed like any Sunday for 80-year-old Pastor Pierre OuIt, who has spent 40 years serving his church and Sirgadji village community in the northeastern Soum province of Burkina Faso. On April 28, he gathered for worship with his congregation in the West African country. And like every Sunday, he preached the Word of God with the wisdom that seasoned years of life and ministry bring.
But shortly after the service, an ordinary Sunday suddenly turned deadly and a church building where worshippers had just gathered became a crime scene.
KILLED FOR FOLLOWING JESUS
At about 1 pm, while Pastor Pierre was still talking with several congregants in the churchyard, a dozen men on motorbikes stormed the area.
A local leader who wished to remain anonymous told World Watch Monitor: “The assailants asked the Christians to convert to Islam, but the pastor and the others refused.”
Reportedly, the attackers gathered Pastor Pierre and the five other congregants under a tree and then confiscated their Bibles and cell phones.
“Then they called them, one after the other, behind the church building where they shot them dead,” the leader said.
In addition to Pastor Pierre, the attackers killed his son, Wend-Kuni, and his brother-in-law (a church deacon), Zoéyandé Sawadogo, as well as believers Sayouba and Arouna Sawadogo, and a primary school teacher, Elie Boena. Another was seriously injured and taken to a nearby hospital.
The men then set the church building and two motorbikes on fire. Before they left, they stole sheep and a bag of rice from Pastor Pierre’s home.
He and his five congregants were buried the same day in a ceremony that drew people from both Christian and Muslim communities. The pastor leaves behind his wife and six other children.
Other locals reported that the next day, the same attackers (some of them known to village residents as “young men who’ve been radicalized”) came back into the village “searching for Christians.”
The sources say the armed groups can move with impunity because of the lack of law enforcement in the area in the West African country.
“I WOULD RATHER DIE THAN LEAVE”
Previously, Pastor Pierre told relatives about his concerns over the deterioration of security in the region, though there had been no incidents in his village.
The community leader said that when he and others advised the pastor to leave the area, he refused, saying he “would rather die for his faith than leave the community he has been serving for 40 years.”
In the last few months, more than 100 Christians have fled the area, moving farther south, more than 46 miles away. In February, armed men believed to be Islamist militants killed a church leader in the southeast region of Nohao, as he was returning from Togo.
Last Sunday’s violence in Burkina Faso that took the life of Pastor Pierre and his five congregants appears to have been the first attack, specifically on a church building, in which believers in Burkina Faso have been killed by Islamist extremists.
Pray: for the families of the martyrs, that they will have the grace to forgive the attackers.
Pray: for protection of Christians facing persecution daily, around the world.
Pray: for the attackers to be brought to justice.
May 7, 2019 by Lindy Lowry
For the second time since Easter, a church in Burkina Faso has suffered a terrorist attack during a Sunday services. This target was a Catholic church in Dablo, where the priest and five worshippers were killed. This prompted a series of déjà-vu headlines among global media outlets as the death toll matches last month’s attack on an Assemblies of God church. The assailants again arrived on motorcycles and interrupted morning Mass, shooting the congregation as they tried to flee. They ordered the women and children to clear the scene before executing six men, including the priest, and setting fire to the church The martyred priest, 34-year-old Simeon Yampa, was described as ‘a humble person, obedient and full of love’. The nation has suffered hundreds of attacks by jihadists in recent years, but these two were the first on houses of Christian worship.
Motorcycle gunmen, suspected to be Islamist militants, sprayed bullets at Christians attending a church service in Burkina Faso, killing a pastor and at least four others, according to local reports. A further two Christians are said to be missing following the early afternoon bloodshed on Sunday 28 April in the small northern town of Silgadji. The attackers fled north towards the country’s border with Mali. A rising tide of Islamic extremism in Mali has produced growing terrorism that is now spilling over into impoverished Burkina Faso, which is over 50% Muslim and about 20% Christian. Two days earlier Islamists were blamed for murdering five teachers and another worker at a school in the east of the country.
Since 1967 the Huichol people of Mexico have had the New Testament and indigenous churches have sprung up. In 2006, Huichol believers cried out for the Old Testament saying, ‘We are willing to do the work.’ Praise God for nine mother-tongue translators who are now refining and improving the Old Testament through the final consultant checking phase. Ask God to fill them all with energy, wisdom and perseverance. Rejoice that many new believers are being baptised and new local churches are being established. In Burkina Faso two New Testament projects are being run simultaneously. Praise God for a positive reception last year to the publication of the Gospel of Luke, chapters 1-12. The communities want more! They are raising funds to publish the remaining twelve chapters. Pray for them to quickly reach their goal. The New Testament books are now in draft form, and translation teams need consultants and finances to be able to check the books for accuracy and clarity.