26Feb20-Burkina Faso-Original ENG

Dear prayer partners,

On Friday 21 February, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said in a statement that more than 700,000 people had been displaced within Burkina Faso in the past 12 months. An estimated 150,000 of them had been uprooted in the last three weeks alone and daily 4,000 are forced to leave their homes as attacks on civilians by armed groups increased.

Burkina Faso’s parliament recently approved legislation allowing the military to use civilian volunteers in the fight against armed – mainly jihadist – groups, as the army is ill-equipped and poorly trained to deal with the threat posed by these groups. Burkina Faso, as well as neighbouring Mali and Niger, has seen frequent attacks by armed groups since the start of 2015 when violence began to spread across the Sahel region.

Burkina Faso is home to almost 21 million people, of whom 20.5% confess to be Christian, while 55.7% are professing Muslims. As recently as Sunday 16 February, gunmen entered a Protestant church in the village of Pansi in Yagha province, killing at least 24 people and injuring 18 others. The also burnt the church and looted the village. This is one of many attacks on church services in Burkina Faso in recent years. According to Open Doors, the spate of killings has created an environment of fear, leaving many Christians too fearful to attend church services or send their children to school. The recent attacks have resulted in Burkina Faso moving 30 spots up, to number 28 on the Open Doors World Watch List of the most persecuted countries.

Please join us in praying for Burkina Faso.

“The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be; the mightier the forces against evil everywhere.” (E.M. Bounds)