AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - Insecurity spreads in vast areas; the drama of the parish of Pissila

Friday, 4 October 2019 violence   terrorism   caritas  

Ouagadougou (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation of security is extremely serious. Not a day goes by without new victims". This is the cry of alarm launched by the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso, Alpha Barry, on the precariousness of the security conditions in which large areas of his country live.
Cross-border jihadist groups, after Mali and Niger, are spreading instability in Burkina Faso, a hinge between the Sahel and the West African states bordering the Atlantic coasts.
Even the various Christian communities suffer terrorist attacks. One of the most affected dioceses is that of Kaya, in the center-north, where, on Sunday 12 May in the assault against the church of Dablo, Fr. Siméon Yampa and five faithful were killed (see Fides, 13/5/2019).
Among the most affected parishes of the diocese is that of Our Lady of the Assumption of Pissila. Several villages that fall within its territory have suffered repeated assaults by unidentified armed individuals, causing victims and material destruction. The inhabitants have been forced into a mass exodus to safer areas, including the center of Pissila, where they are welcomed in some families or in temporary structures set up in schools.
The living conditions are very difficult: lack of food, adequate care, sufficient space, etc. The parish of Pissila, together with Caritas Ocades-Kaya, has launched an assistance program for displaced people that provides for the donation of food and basic necessities.
We note the absence of men among the displaced. Except for a few elderly people, there are only children and women. This is because terrorists are targeting men, even young people aged 12 to 15 are killed. All the men fled to take refuge elsewhere; there are even some who have left for the Ivory Coast.
Churches in the affected villages are closed, liturgies have stopped, while catechists have taken refuge in Pissila. The security forces have not yet deployed in the area, to the point that displaced people report the fact that many of them failed to bury their loved ones killed during the raids. (L.M) (Agenzia Fides, 4/10/2019)