Just yesterday (Sunday 1st December), gunmen stormed a church in Hantoukoura, in the eastern part of Burkina Faso. Reports say the attackers opened fire during the service, killing 14 people, including the pastor and five teenagers. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is assumed to be the work of one of the several Islamic extremist groups active in the country.
It’s hard to imagine what that must have been like – for us in the UK, our churches are safe places. But in Burkina Faso in West Africa, Christians have been facing increasing violence. This latest incident brings the number of Christians known to have been killed to at least 41 this year across 9 attacks. Plus, an unknown number of pastors and their families have been abducted.
The attacks are challenging the peaceful religious co-existence between the country’s majority Muslims and Christians who form around 25% of the population. Many have fled the north and east of the country to find shelter in safer parts of Burkina Faso.
Pastor Samuel Sawadogo, who has been caring for displaced Christians in Kaya said, “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.”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.