The presence of a homegrown, three-year-old insurgency is like a metastasized tumor spreading throughout Burkina Faso. The overflow of Islamist militant violence from neighboring Mali feeds its existence.
Relatives of an ambush last week voiced anger at what appears to be unchecked extremist activity. The scope of the attack and the death toll of over 70 are finally making a blip in international news media.
Extremism isn’t new to Christians, though. They know what it means to be in the crosshairs; four deadly attacks hit within four weeks this spring. One of the attacks cost Sirgardji’s Pastor Pierre Ouedraogo his life on April 28.
Illia Djadi serves with Open Doors and recently visited Pastor Quedraogo’s widow. “She’s still traumatized. She said, ‘I wonder why such a barbaric act occurred to people whose only crime is to pray and worship the Lord?’” The family fled to a more central town and took up residence in an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camp with thousands of other Christians.
They are not alone. International Christian Concern notes that on more than one occasion, the terrorists singled out and killed Christians during the attacks. This year, increasing violence in this region led to a wave of displacement. More than 330,000 people have left their homes, in addition to 100,000 refugees.
Extremism worsens crisis
Cries for help seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Government efforts haven’t been enough to stop the violence, and international media isn’t paying attention.
The risk is that terror networks have been using Burkina Faso as an incubator for the homegrown terror groups right under our noses. “If you look at the map, you’ll see Burkina Faso is very central. If, eventually, Burkina Faso falls, what will happen? The other countries down south will be deeply affected: Northern Benin, Northern Togo, and Northern Ghana, and Ivory Coast.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama