Missing Catholic Cleric in Burkina Faso Found Dead, Bishop Asks for Spiritual Solidarity

Late Fr. Rodrigue Sanon whose lifeless body was discovered Thursday, January 21 in the protected forest of Toumousseni, about twenty kilometers from Banfora.

The Catholic Priest ministering in Burkina Faso’s Diocese of Banfora who had been reported missing since Tuesday, January 19 has been found dead in a forest, the Local Ordinary of the Diocese has announced.

“It is with deep sorrow that I bring to everyone's attention that the lifeless body of Fr. Rodrigue Sanon was found on January 21, 2021 in the protected forest of Toumousseni, about twenty kilometres from Banfora,” Bishop Lucas Kalfa Sanou says.

In his Thursday, January 21 statement obtained by ACI Africa, Bishop Sanou adds, “While inviting you all to pray intensely for the repose of his soul, let us remain confident in the merciful Love of the Lord.”

Earlier this week, the Burkinabe Bishop announced the disappearance of Fr. Rodrigue, appealing for prayers “to find the missing Priest safe and sound as soon as possible.”

In a statement issued January 19, Bishop Sanou said “Father Rodrigue Sanon had left Soubaganyedougou for Banfora in order to participate in a meeting but he never arrived at his destination,” Bishop Sanou said in a statement circulated January 20.


According to Journal de Montreal, residents of Banfora found the Priest’s vehicle abandoned on the road, raising fears of kidnapping by armed groups operating in the region located in the Southwestern part of Burkina Faso.

In the January 21 statement announcing the death of Fr. Rodrigue, Bishop Sanou says “More Information will be communicated to you later.”

“By the Mercy of God, may the soul of his servant Rodrigue Sanon rest in peace!” the Prelate implores in his statement.

Burkina Faso, one of the countries of the Sahel, has witnessed attacks from Islamic militant groups.

The Northern and Eastern parts of Burkina Faso have been most affected by a five-year-old jihadist offensive from the insurgents that include Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Ansarul Islam in recent years.

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Last year, Bishops in Burkina Faso raised concerns about rising cases of insecurity in the West African country saying the situation is “more worrying than ever”. 

In their 16 July 2020 statement, the members of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina-Niger (CEBN) expressed concerns about the situation of insecurity saying it is preventing Clerics from reaching the faithful.

They called on collective efforts to combat insecurity, adding, “It is a challenge to be met at all costs; it is a challenge for the entire nation and we must pool our energies.”