Catholic Priest Says Islamists Forcing Everyone to Worship in Mosques in Burkina Faso

Credit: ACN

Islamists in Burkina Faso are forcing Christians to follow Sharia law and to attend prayers in Mosques, a Catholic Priest in the West African country has told the Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International.

In a Monday, August 29 ACN report, Fr. Honoré Ouedraogo, a member of the Clergy of the Diocese of Tenkodogo in Eastern Burkina Faso, speaks about the current situation in his country where attacks against Christians are on the rise.

“The attackers force Burkinabé to follow Sharia law. Men are forced to wear pants of appropriate length and not to shave their beards, and women must be veiled. Western education is forbidden, and children must attend madrasas, or Koranic schools. Churches are forbidden to ring their bells, and everyone must attend prayers in mosques,” Fr. Ouedraogo has been quoted as telling ACN.

Fr. Ouedraogo estimates that 40 percent of the country is not under the control of the State, and that in the remaining 60 percent, there are also some areas that are in the hands of terrorists.

The Rector of the Tenkodogo Seminary says that the situation in the country has worsened since the first terrorist attack in 2015, and that terrorism now affects the entire country.


“People wake up in the morning not knowing if they will be the latest victims of an attack, no one feels safe anymore,” he says in the August 29 report.

Fr. Ouedraogo says that insecurity in Burkina Faso is exacerbated by widespread poverty, explaining, “At least 60 percent of the population is unemployed. They have nothing to do all day and no money. So, if you offer them 100 euros to kill someone, they take you up on the offer.”

According to the Priest, it is difficult to pinpoint the true motives of the terrorists, which can range from pure banditry to a desire to wage jihad. However, victims say the attacks contain elements of Islamic fundamentalism.

ACN reports that many Priests and Catechists have, owing to security reasons, had to flee Tenkodogo Diocese, which, according to the Pontifical foundation, is predominantly Muslim.

Some Parishes, the charity foundation reports, have largely ceased their activities, and the faithful must travel great distances to receive the Sacraments.

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Fortunately, the foundation that supports Christians in countries experiencing Religious-based persecution says many people have the opportunity to follow Masses and prayers through Christian radio stations.

Many Seminarians, according to the Rector of Tenkodogo, have not been able to go home to their families during the summer vacations because of the terrible security situation throughout the country.

Despite all these, Burkinabé Christians are holding fast to their faith, Fr. Ouedraogo told ACN, adding, “Some of my parishioners spend their nights praying for peace. This painful situation has strengthened the faith of Christians throughout the country. Some have even become martyrs because they died rather than abandon their faith.”

The Catholic Priest believes that Burkina Faso will be saved through faith.

He says, “Faith and prayer will save us, not weapons. What we are experiencing is beyond our strength, these attacks are diabolical in nature, and therefore only God can help us.”


Fr. Ouedraogo recalls that in 2018, all the country's Catholic Bishops, accompanied by a million faithful, went on pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Yagma to consecrate Burkina Faso to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with the prayer that Our Lady taught at Fatima.

“The following year, 2019, there were almost no attacks in the country,” he recalls in the August 29 report, and appeals to the people of God in Burkina Faso to pray for peace in the country through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.