Ten Catholics were murdered by gunmen in one week in May. During Mass, attackers shot and killed five men, including the priest, and then burned down the Catholic church in Dablo. The following day, gunmen killed four more Catholics during a religious procession and then burned the Marian statue.
The escalation in violence in Burkina Faso in 2019 led to the displacement of an estimated 486,000 people, the United Nations reports.
A CSIS report on the violence in Sahel published in December concluded that the governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger are “ill-equipped” to confront the region’s security crisis.
Meanwhile, extremist factions in the Sahel have built a coalition and have expanded their reach with coordinated attacks across the region, according to CSIS.
“ISIS is outpacing the ability of regional governments and international partners to address that threat,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Nov. 14.
Bishop Kientega said Burkina Faso is experiencing an “unprecedented level of insecurity.”
Pope Francis has urged interreligious dialogue in Burkina Faso in response to the ongoing violence by jihadist groups after 38 people were killed and 60 injured in an attack on Canadian mining company convoy in November.
“I address a special thought to dear Burkina Faso, who for some time has been tried by recurrent violence,” the pope said. “I entrust to the Lord all the victims, the wounded, the numerous displaced persons and those who suffer from these tragedies. I appeal for the protection of the most vulnerable.”
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.
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