25Nov20-Burkina Faso-Original

Dear prayer partners,

On Sunday 22 November, presidential and legislative elections were held in Burkina Faso. President Roch Kabore is seeking a further five years in power and is up against 12 other candidates for the presidency. The opposition hopes to split the vote and deny Mr Kabore the 51% required for an outright victory in this first round of voting. If successful, the opposition then plans to form a coalition behind the strongest opposition candidate for the second round of voting.

The election went smoothly in the capital Ouagadougou and there were no reports of extensive violence in the rest of the country during the vote. Some polling stations in the eastern areas were closed because of violent threats. Violence linked to al-Qaeda and IS (Islamic State) cut off parts of the country, preventing about 166,000 new voters from registering to vote. Official data estimates that at least 400,000 people (about 7% of the electorate) were unable to vote due to polling stations remaining closed due to the threat of violence. According to Codel (a local organisation focused on elections), crisis rooms were set up to monitor voting and to check for irregularities, voter suppression and violence.

These elections were held against the backdrop of a spiralling conflict and one of the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crises. Large areas of this gold-producing West African nation have become ungovernable since Islamist militants based in Mali expanded their reach across the border four years ago. This year, Burkina Faso recorded an unprecedented surge in attacks, both by militants affiliated with al-Qaeda and Islamic State and rural militias. Last year, the conflict led to more than 2,000 deaths and more than one million people being displaced. Humanitarian groups have also condemned massacres of Fulani civilians by pro-government militias or the army. France and the United States of America also sent in troops to try and contain violence and end the IS and al-Qaeda insurgency.

Burkina Faso is home to almost 21 million people, of whom 20.5% confess to be Christian, while 55.7% are professing Muslims. The attacks have resulted in Burkina Faso moving to number 28 on the Open Doors World Watch List of the most persecuted countries. The violence and escalation in attacks has created an environment of fear within the country and the Church. As the body of Christ, we need to come alongside our brothers and sisters, trusting the Lord for a breakthrough within this nation.

Please join with us in praying for Burkina Faso.

“When you plead the name of Christ, you plead that which shakes the gates of hell and that which the hosts of heaven obey, and God Himself feels the sacred power of that divine plea.” (Charles Spurgeon)