Burkinabes “really suffering, still await a strong signal in terms of peace”: Cardinal

Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo of Burkina Faso's Ouagadougou Archdiocese. Credit: ACI Africa

The military leadership in Burkina Faso needs to do “much” more to address the plight of the people of God in the West African nation who are yet to see “a strong signal in terms of peace”, the Cardinal in the country has said. 

Burkina Faso is currently under the leadership of Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba who spearheaded the coup that ousted President Roch Mac Christian Kaboré on January 24.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, May 4 on the sidelines of the Plenary Assembly of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA), Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo called on the international community to come to the aid of Burkinabes. 

Credit: CSN

“Since 2014, our country has been in a serious crisis. The military leaders say the coup was intended to put an end to insecurity and bring peace to the nation,” Cardinal Ouédraogo said, and added, “Our people are really suffering and much is expected from the military leaders to bring back peace and stability in our country.”


The Cardinal regretted the fact “since the military government came in, terrorist attacks have continued.”

“Our people still await a strong signal in terms of peace,” Cardinal Ouédraogo told ACI Africa May 4 in Abuja, Nigeria, and added, “We want peace; our people need peace for the country to move forward.”

Burkina Faso, one of the ten countries in the Sahel region, has been facing rampant violence occasioned by political crises, which offer a fertile ground for the proliferation of extremist groups such as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and the al-Qaeda affiliate Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin.

In the May 4 interview with ACI Africa, Cardinal Ouédraogo said the crisis has had a “huge impact on the population.”

He highlighted some of the negative effects of the crisis saying, “We have more million internally displaced persons; more than 2,000 schools have been closed and a large portion of our territory is still occupied by the terrorists making access to some area difficult.”

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“These are major challenges that the government needs to resolve,” the Local Ordinary of Burkina Faso’s Ouagadougou Archdiocese who doubles as the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) added. 

He continued in reference to the military-led government, “That is why a lot is expected from them. The Catholic Church in Burkina Faso has offered to facilitate the transition process. We await the reaction of the government but we continue to help the people who have lost their loved ones and those displaced by this conflict.”

“I think collective effort is needed from people of all walks of life to fight insecurity and terrorism,” the 77-year-old Cardinal said.

He continued, “We know it is a very complicated and challenging task given that a lot of young people are now joining the terrorists. Sons of the soil are massively taking up arms to destabilize the country. But one thing is certain, these terrorists don’t act alone,” Cardinal Ouédraogo told ACI Africa.


“Where do they get the weapons and sophisticated machinery they use? Who provides the finances? Who are their leaders? he posed, and added, “These are questions that need to be examined profoundly for a lasting solution to this crisis.”

The people of God in Burkina Faso are “counting on the support of the international community to end this crisis,” the Cardinal said, and added, “Those financing terrorism in Africa and other parts of the world must stop. Terrorists must also seek the path of conversion.”

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Reflecting on the theme of the fourth RECOWA Plenary Assembly, “Fratelli Tutti: Path to build brotherhood and sustainable peace in West Africa”, Cardinal Ouédraogo invited the people of God in West Africa to interact with the Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on human fraternity, and social friendship, Fratelli Tutti.

He said, “We are here in Nigeria to examine an important document which Pope Francis has proposed for the people of the world. Fraternity, love for one another is necessary to end all the crises we are going through. I invite Christians to read this document carefully and put into practice the message of the Pope.”

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In his 2022 Easter message, the Cardinal called on Burkinabes “to break down the walls of hatred” and instead “build bridges of love”.

Last month, the representative of the Holy Father in Burkina Faso said the Holy See is ready to accompany the country in its process of transition following the military coup that ousted President Kaboré.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.