Burkina Faso

Number of projects in 2021
Type of projects in 2021
Head of Section

The West African country of Burkina Faso has long been considered an example of peaceful coexistence between religions. About  a quarter of the population is Christian, and just over 60% of the 21 million inhabitants are Muslims. Since 2015, however, the northern and eastern parts of the country have become a hotspot of violent extremists. ACN mainly helps the Church in Burkina Faso to provide pastoral care for the many people traumatised by terror.

Burkina Faso is now the main theatre of jihadist terror in the Sahel. In the year under review, the situation deteriorated even further. As a result, more than one million people are on the run, entire towns resemble ghost towns, countless parishes have been deserted and more than 1,000 school have been closed. Many children are being forcibly recruited as child soldiers by the “warrior of God”. On 4 June 2021, jihadists carried out their worst attack to date near the village of Solhan in the border region between Burkina Faso and Niger. Almost 160 people were killed and numerous houses burned down. The Bishops’ Conference spoke of a “night of horror”.

The spectre of terrorism has Burkina Faso firmly in its grip.

The Burkina Faso Bishops' Conference

Persecution of the Church in Burkina Faso

Church in Burkina Faso: pilgrims at a shrine in Ouagadougou
Pilgrims praying at the Shrine of “Notre Dame de Yagma” in Ouagadougou.

Christians and their churches have been increasingly targeted since 2019. Currently, religiously-motivated terror affects six of the country’s fifteen Catholic dioceses. Project partners have told us about kidnappings and murders. In addition, the terrorists are said to control several transport routes, which means that the population’s freedom of movement is severely restricted. The Diocese of Dori, which is affected by violence, is in danger of being cut off from the rest of the country.

The Church in Burkina Faso: help for IDPs.
A woman in a camp for internally displaced people in Koudougou. Woman at the IDP camp Koudougou.

ACN’s help for the Church in Burkina Faso

ACN supports the Catholic Church in Burkina Faso in helping those affected by Islamist violence and displacement to find a way back into normal life. In particular, we support projects designed to heal trauma. Funding has also been offered to various radio projects that provide communication, information and pastoral care in areas where the majority of the population has fled.

The Church in Burkina: a priest producing a radio programme.
A priest producing a programme for the displaced in the Diocese of Ouahigouya.