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BURKINA FASO

About Christian persecution in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso has been caught up in the sudden expansion of jihadism that began significantly from the collapse of Libya in 2011 when a flood of arms became available to insurgents. The Francophone states of the Sahel are also among the most fragile, with the jihadists adept at exploiting the political vacuums.

Burkina Faso had two coups in 2022, and in recent years a perfect storm of three extremist movements have begun an extermination campaign of persecuted Christians from the north of the state. Called the “Sahelian Exception” these three jihadist groups have continued to co-operation even though the norm is for these groups to fall out with each other. They are Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (IGIS), and another umbrella group of Al Qaeda affiliates known as the Jama’at Nsurat al-Islam wal-Musmimin (JNIM).

In the past two years they have taken control of forty percent of the territory and displaced over a million Christians. According to the GCR-IIRF violent incidents database, 83 Christians were killed in the 2022-2023 period, and this is fraction of the true number.

Leadership:

President Ibrahim Traoré

Population

23.5 M

Christian pop.

5.1 M

“The pressure is growing. Our country has changed. It didn’t take long. Pray for creativity in our response to the persecution. We have taken the crosses off our churches. We offer social services. We witness through a holistic shalom. We realised the roof of the mosque was leaking. The church offered to fix it, and as they did, prayed for the chief. His third wife became a Christian. In this way we stay, and we win, but we pay a price in blood from the fighters when they arrive.”

PASTOR OF A MBB CHURCH IN BURKINA FASO

History of Christianity

Burkina Faso was long a Muslim stronghold, but in the 19th century Protestants and Catholics arrived, with the Catholics being much more successful perhaps due the sponsorship of the French colonists. Today roughly 20% of the population are Roman Catholic, while a further 7% are Protestant. In fact, the country is distinguished in that the first indigenous African Bishop in the Catholic church was ordained here in 1956.

For years the Muslims and Christians lived in harmony, with Christians even well represented in government. Sadly, this changed when the Sahel region began to be overrun with Islamic extremist groups, and since 2015 Christians particularly in the north have been the targets of horrific violence.

Stories from BURKINA FASO

February 26, 2024

15 persecuted believers from Burkina Faso martyred at church

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February 15, 2024

Persecuted Burkinabe believer inspired by grandmother’s faith

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February 9, 2024

Persecuted Burkinabe Christian clenches onto her faith

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