World Watch List: 32
Leader: President Roch Marc Kabore
Population: 21 million
Christian: 4.97 million
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Presidential Republic
Source of Persecution: Islamic Oppression
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the church in Burkina Faso through:
Leadership and discipleship training
Persecution preparedness training
Meet “Pastor Samuel”
“In northern Burkina Faso, we have faced attacks against Christians and against our churches. We don’t know who the attackers are, nor do we know who is sponsoring them. All we know is that they attack Christians. These attacks have shattered the lives of our people. We are troubled and filled with pain over the deaths of our family members.”
Persecution type: Islamic oppression/Organized corruption and crime
What does persecution look like in Burkina Faso?
After a brutal 2019, when Christians were targeted and murdered by militants, there were fewer high-profile violent attacks in 2020. However, the violence still continued—just not as visibly.
Open Doors estimates there are over 1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Burkina Faso, and many are Christians. Extremist attacks have driven followers of Jesus from their homes and villages, with many being forced into refugee camps. Open Doors partners in Burkina Faso report there are no open churches in parts of northeastern Burkina Faso. Christians in this area have largely been forced to flee due to violence from Islamic extremists. Low rainfall and the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened the situation.
Christians who have converted from Islam also face significant pressure and opposition from their families and communities. Families may reject Christian converts, and new Christians may be pressured to renounce their new faith. This also means new converts from Islam are often reluctant to be public about their faith. Burkina Faso has long had a reputation for tolerance of various faiths, but that reputation is increasingly at risk.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
The northern and eastern parts of Burkina Faso are particularly dangerous for followers of Jesus, especially areas outside of urban centers. Attacks from Islamic extremists have focused on this region.
Additionally, converts from Islam are also vulnerable to pressure and rejection from both their families as well as the broader society. Often, this can lead to a fear of publicly expressing faith.
From a pastor in Burkina Faso: “Pray for Burkina Faso, so that the peace of God will reign in the country, and our people will be able to go back to their villages and continue their daily activities. Pray also for our pastors who have been displaced, that God will equip them and put His words of hope on their lips as they minister to their congregations.”
Pray for grace for Christians to remain firm in the faith as they face increased hostility. Many people, including Christians, have been severely traumatized by the deterioration in security and the displacement they have suffered. Please pray the Lord will be at work in their lives to bring healing and comfort.
Thank the Lord for the efforts by the church to provide for the needs of fellow Christians through church collections. Please pray the government will receive wisdom and display accountability as they seek to create order in the affected areas.