ACN reported having received word that Christians in Burkina Faso are facing renewed threat from terrorism. According to the Catholic entity that advocates for religious freedom across the world, Christians in the Sahel region have been forced to flee their homes in fear of their lives.
The charity foundation has reported that armed groups are creating a reign of terror over the whole population, demanding taxes, and pillaging and robbing people in many parts of the country.
According to testimonies from displaced people collected by ACN in Burkina Faso’s Dori Diocese, however, some of them have been the object of severe persecution specifically because they are Christian.
“The modus operandi of the terrorists when they arrive in the villages is to ask for ‘taxes’ per head of cattle,” ACN reports, and explains, in reference to the terrorists, “They go to the cattle herders and ask for the owner of each animal. If they are not able to pay the taxes, they impound the animals. ACN has received reliable reports from local sources, according to which in recent weeks there have been cases in which the terrorists have first been asking whether the owner is a Christian or a Muslim.”
Witnesses who have lived through the latest attacks in Northern Burkina Faso have told ACN, “If the owners were Christians the attackers didn’t consider it necessary to count their animals, because they said that they didn’t just want to take their animals, but also to kill the owners.”
According to reports received by the foundation, in the last week of October, a total of 147 persons, among them eight pregnant women and 19 children under five, had to flee from two villages on the Niger border, so as not to put the rest of the inhabitants in danger.
The displaced people who are now seeking refuge in Dori, the capital of the Sahel Region, explained that many of them had been recognized as Christians and the terrorists were expressly seeking them out to kill them for this reason.
The Local Ordinary of Dori Diocese told ACN that there are attacks, kidnapping, and murders in the whole country.
“The terrorists are kidnapping whoever they want to, executing some and liberating others,” Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré said, and added that the terrorists control various lines of communication and in addition frequently attack defense and security forces.
“Last Sunday, 31 October, the terrorists turned back the regular buses which were on the way from Dori to Ouagadougou, saying that from now on the road was blocked,” the Catholic Bishop said, and added, “Although the army afterwards patrolled the road, the people are afraid because this is only intermittent, and the terrorists can come back at any moment.”