By Paschal Norbert
KOUDOUGOU, FEBRUARY 24, 2023 (CISA) – Catholic Bishops in Burkina Faso have expressed concerns about the fast-deteriorating face of security and continuous disarray of the population in the country.
Meeting in the Catholic Diocese of Koudougou for The Second Ordinary Plenary Assembly of the Burkina-Niger Episcopal Conference (CEBN) from February 13 to 19, the bishops appealed to the faithful to pray and be in solidarity with the people who are directly affected by the “consequences of this unjust war imposed on the country.’’
Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been embroiled in an escalating wave of violence attributed to rebel fighters allied to both al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) groups, killing thousands of people and further displacing millions.
The country, which is ranked among the 10 poorest in the world has experienced two coups in a year. On January 24, 2022, President Roch Kabore was deposed after six years in power following public unrest in the capital Ouagadougou by the military strongman Paul-Henri Damiba.
On September 20, 2022, Damiba was also deposed in the country’s second coup d’état by army Captain Ibrahim Traore who has since declared himself president.
According to the European Commission for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the country’s complex and volatile crisis continues to deteriorate quickly and severely.
“The internal conflict has intensified, spreading across all regions of the country. Armed violence has caused massive population displacements, with a substantial increase in 2022, and is increasingly targeting civilians,” states the EU commission.
“In addition, the country is suffering an unprecedented food crisis and significant deterioration in access to water and essential social services,” they add.
As attacks by armed Islamist groups surge, the bishops have called for “unity and joint efforts of the sons and daughters of Burkina Faso to face terrorism and all its dramatic consequences.”
The plenary, which ended a few days before the beginning of the Lenten season saw the bishops implore the faithful to keep hope under the invitation of St. Paul: “Rejoice in hope and be patient in distress. Persevere in prayer. (Rom 12,12).”