Ouagadougou (Agenzia Fides) - "Our response to the Kalashnikov is prayer", said Cardinal Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo, Archbishop of Ouagadougou, on Sunday, October 2, on the occasion of the opening of the Missionary Month.
"Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, at the beginning of the month of October, the missionary month, the Pontifical Mission Societies invite us to meditate on the following theme: ‘You will be my witnesses’ (Acts 1:8). But, how can we bear witness to God's love and mercy in the face of murderous terrorism that plunges the daily lives of men and women who are direct or collateral victims of this unjust and useless violence into despair?" asks the Cardinal. "Our response to the Kalashnikov is prayer. This means that we must intensify our prayer in this month of October for peace, in our country and throughout the world".
Cardinal Ouédraogo's intervention takes place in the context of the coup that overthrew the military junta led by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba (see Fides, 30/9/2022), who left Burkina Faso thanks to the mediation carried out by religious leaders (see Fides, 3/10/2022).
On January 24, Damiba had overthrown the democratically elected president, Roch Christian Kabore, accusing him of being unable to guarantee security in the face of increasingly frequent attacks by jihadist groups.
However, nine months after the Damiba coup, security in Burkina Faso has deteriorated further. Terrorist organizations have spread to about 40% of the country. Army units have come under attack in recent months. The losses suffered have provoked the discontent of the armed forces against the government. Burkina Faso has stood out as one of the regions with the highest number of deaths from terrorist attacks in 2021. The strong man of the new military junta, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, has used the same arguments to justify the overthrow of the previous junta. The massacres carried out by the jihadists have weakened Damiba's position both within the army and in public opinion.
In this situation, Cardinal Ouédraogo recalls that "faced with the challenges of terrorism and political instability, the Church, closely linked to the world and its history, cannot fail to be a sign and witness of solidarity, promoting a world of love and fraternity". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 4/10/2022)