Voice of the Martyrs, 27 April 2023
Christians have been a primary target of Islamists in Burkina Faso since April 2019 when approximately 70 Christians were killed and five churches attacked. In 2022, Islamist activity increased in the southwestern part of the country, resulting in numerous destroyed churches and the murder of several pastors. As many as 10,000 Christians have fled their homes due to violence and threats; more than 1.7 million people have been displaced by the conflict.
Two years ago, when Muslim militants attacked their village, one young couple fled with their lives and almost nothing else. They fled so quickly that they couldn’t even grab their Bible. Front-line workers recently had the opportunity to provide Bibles for the displaced couple as well as many other displaced Christians. “They were so happy they were crying,” said a front-line worker. “They said it was an answer to their prayers.”
Burkina Faso has seen a sharp rise in Islamist activity since 2016. Militants linked to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaida, who had been largely contained in neighbouring Mali and Niger, have crossed porous borders in the north to broaden their influence in the Sahel region.
More than 200 churches have reportedly closed in northern and eastern Burkina Faso because of security issues and threat of attack.