Catholic Bishop Decries “terrible” Terrorism Consequences on Church Work in Burkina Faso

Credit: ACN

Terrorism in Burkina Faso has taken a heavy toll on the ministry of the local Church in the West African nation, a Catholic Bishop has lamented in a report.

In the Tuesday, January 10 report by the Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré is quoted as saying he finds it regrettable that pastoral agents in the country can no longer reach Christians in the rural areas as terrorists occupy most parts of the nation.

“The consequences of this wave of terrorism over the past seven years have been terrible. From a pastoral point of view, we can no longer move around as we did before,” the Local Ordinary of Dori Diocese who doubles as the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger (CEBN) is said to have told ACN. 

Bishop Dabiré added, “Our scope of action is much smaller because the terrorists occupy two-thirds of the territory of the Sahel. All we have left, practically, are the provincial capitals.”

The Burkinabe Catholic Bishop has had to close down some Parishes in his Episcopal See amid insecurity.


“The Diocese of Dori has six parishes, three had to be closed, and we came close to closing another this summer. Another is blockaded,” he has been quoted as telling ACN. 

When an area becomes badly affected by terrorism, Bishop Dabiré said, “It is often the parishioners themselves who ask that their Priests be sent to a safe place because they know that they will be in greater danger.”

Burkina Faso has been at the center of terrorist attacks for years now. Several major Islamic terrorist groups, affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), are active in the predominantly Muslim nation. 

In the January 10 ACN report, Bishop Dabiré says some of the terrorists “want to eradicate this society and all who do not profess the same brand of Islam as them, including Muslims, which means that the terrorism is now aimed at society as a whole.”

Insecurity in the Sahel nation has displaced 1.7 million people and led to significant jumps in humanitarian needs and food insecurity, according to CIA World Factbook

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The Bishop of Dori says that the Diocese organizes humanitarian aid and pastoral care for displaced persons.

“We have organized pastoral care for internally displaced persons, who number two million to date. In some places, there are food shortages and communications are down, we only manage to get some messages through thanks to a few UN organizations that have the means to transmit them. Occasionally we have been able to get food and supplies to isolated areas thanks to the military convoys,” he says.

He adds, “Radio has been a great help for us to reach the displaced, and when communications are down completely, we try to use the humanitarian and military convoys to send short written messages to those who are isolated, to provide them with information and try to find out how they are.”

“We adapt to the situation as best we can. This is a difficult time, but I can also see some graces in it: we are united in this predicament!” Bishop Dabiré says in the January 10 ACN report.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.