How many Christians are there in Burkina Faso?
There are 5.2 million Christians from a population of 20.3 million, which means about a quarter of the country are Christian.
Why are Christians persecuted in Burkina Faso?
Levels of anti-Christian violence in Burkina Faso are rapidly increasing. Several Islamist attacks in 2019 left many dead. Christians are particularly vulnerable in the north and in the capital, Ouagadougou, and those who have converted from Islam are most in danger. The militant Islamic group Ansar ul Islam, formed in 2016, has tried to impose its laws in the north of the country.
What’s life like for Christians in Burkina Faso?
Tragically, more than 50 Christians were murdered in 2019. This is a shocking change from previous years, and the outburst of killings has led to an environment of fear. Many Christians are too scared to attend church services or send their children to school.
Naomi was preparing dinner for her husband Eli and their nine children when Eli went to visit a friend. Their town was peaceful, and there were good relations between the Christian and Muslim communities. But she knew things had changed when she heard protracted gunfire. Eli was killed.
As of August 2020, the wave of militant violence has led to the internal displacement of over one million people. Nearly half of this figure have been newly displaced this year – more than a fivefold increase on the 87,000 figure from January 2019. The situation is made graver due to Covid-19 – a government response plan to coronavirus highlighted major inadequacies, including insufficient screening checks at borders and a severe shortage of beds – as well as low rainfall. Large numbers of Burkinabe are facing hunger, many of them Christians.
How can I help Christians in Burkina Faso?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Burkina Faso. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors’ local partners have helped Naomi’s family and hundreds of other families in need of urgent aid, as well as providing trauma care, leadership and discipleship training and persecution survival training.
Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Burkina Faso?
Yes. Burkina Faso has seen the greatest escalation in Christian persecution in the world. Although the country had experienced several Islamist attacks in recent years, it wasn’t on the World Watch List a year ago, and has now overtaken more than 30 countries. The primary change has been in the level of violence, which is now considered extreme.
“Today, God’s promises have been fulfilled. He promised to never leave us or forsake us. I received my package of maize, beans and rice and was told it was just for my family!”Naomi, Burkina Faso
Father, we pray for our Christian brothers and sisters as they come to terms with the rapid rise in violence and hatred in their nation. May they find their security in You, and a source of compassion, prayer and practical aid in their worldwide church family. May your Holy Spirit enable them to meet violence with peace and hatred with love.