Priest from Burkina Faso: Thousands of Christians forced to flee because of their faith

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The Sahel is close to becoming lawless territory. According to the UN, in the last months, the region has been impacted by unusual levels of violence. Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso are the countries most affected by this situation.

World Food Program Executive Director

“As we speak, millions of people are desperately hungry in the Sahel. Hundreds of thousands are being displaced. Thousands of people are being killed because of extremism and violence. In Burkina Faso alone, there has been a 500 percent increase in displacement, and one third of the nation is now a conflict area. This is a catastrophe. We’ve gotta act, and we gotta act now.”

The insecurity in Burkina Faso is alarming. Practically daily, some area of the country experiences an attack against the helpless population or security forces. The number of internally displaced people surpasses the half million mark. Thousands of them were forced to flee. As a result, the emergency is also a nutritional crisis.

The UNHCR alerts that the conflicts between communities and Jihadists are responsible for this humanitarian tragedy.

Diocesan priest in Dori, Burkina Faso

“Since the beginning of the year, dozens of Christians have been killed for their faith. Many others have left their towns and communities. Today, many people are displaced within the country. It's a very difficult situation for the affected dioceses and for the people who have abandoned everything because of their faith or ethnicity.”

“Those affected aren't just Christians, but it's true that Christian communities have become clear targets.”

Fr. Roger belongs to the diocese of Dori, in the northern part of the country. It's one of the regions most brutally impacted by the unrestrained violence attributed to Jihadist militias from Niger and Mali.

The belief is that some of these groups are responsible for the kidnapping of Fr. Joel Yougbare, a friend of Fr. Roger.

Diocesan priest in Dori, Burkina Faso

“We don't know who took him. It's practically certain it was the terrorists. From which group or what they want... there have been no more news since March 17, 2019.”

“We pray a lot. The whole country is united in prayer with the diocese of Dori so it can be freed. We as priests don't have the freedom of movement. We have to take strong security precautions. We can't leave the parish. We can't go to certain areas, and we have to follow strict security norms to protect our lives.”

It was at this encounter organized by Aid to the Church in Need where Fr. Roger explained the details of the dramatic situation in Burkina Faso. The priest calls for the world's support. He asks Christians to pray for the fate of his country, currently entrenched in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

Ángeles Conde
Translation: Claudia Torres

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