11 April 2023, The Tablet

Catholic bishops concerned over violence in Burkina Faso

by Francis Njuguna

Catholic bishops concerned over violence in Burkina Faso

West African Soldiers from Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger participate in a simulated raid during the U.S. sponsored Flintlock exercises at the site of the new French-backed international counter-terrorism academy in Jacqueville, Ivory Coast last month.

Catholic bishops in Burkina Faso have expressed their concern over a wave of violence that has been attributed to extremist rebels and has led to killings and massive internal displacement of people.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger said, “Our sadness and pain are great in the face of this war that is being imposed on us and that brings its share of misfortune and distress every day: loss of human life, forced displacement of populations fleeing war zones and insecurity, closure of many schools, health centres, places of worship, destruction of goods and vital infrastructure.”

They added: “Psychosocial traumas and the trivialisation of human life are among other misfortunes resulting from terrorist attacks.”

In early March, 11 soldiers and 112 others were reportedly killed in recent days during several anti-jihadist operations in Burkina

And in February, at least 70 soldiers were reportedly killed in four days in two different clashes with extremist groups in the West Africa country’s northern region.

Reports indicated that the bloodiest clash dated back to February 17 when at least 51 soldiers were killed in an ambush between Déou and Oursi, near the borders with Mali and Niger.

Burkina Faso, predominantly Muslim nation, has in recent years experienced repeated violence occasioned by several extremist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).


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