AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - "Peace is a gift from God, but it is also the fruit of human effort", recalls Cardinal Ouédraogo, in the country devastated by violence

Wednesday, 31 May 2023 bishops   jihadists   peace  

Ouagadougou (Agenzia Fides) - At least 40 people died last weekend in jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso. This was announced by the local authorities, according to which 20 members of the voluntary militias supporting the army (VDP Volontaires pour la Défense de la Patrie), were killed on Saturday, May 27 in Bourasso, in the province of Kossi, near the border with Mali, and another 20 people lost their lives in the same region on Sunday, May 28.
During Saturday's attack on the VDP column, the air force intervened and shot down the terrorists, killing about thirty of them, according to a military spokesman.
Since 2015, Burkina Faso has lived in insecurity caused by the violence committed by various armed groups, some of which are affiliated either with Al Qaeda or with the Islamic State. Jihadist groups are transnational, and operate not only in Burkina Faso, but also in Mali and Niger.
The Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Kyélem de Tambèla, declared yesterday, May 30, that he has no intention of negotiating with terrorists. "For us, it is not possible to negotiate with immorality. (...) We will never negotiate, neither the territorial integrity of Burkina Faso, nor its sovereignty. We will defend our territory and our people at all costs," said Kyélem de Tambèla in a speech before the Transitional Legislative Assembly in which he also called for the number of VDP to be increased from 50,000 to 100,000.
The Bishops of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (CEREAO/ RECOWA) for their part called for peace and prayed for the conversion of the terrorists. "May God touch their hearts" they implored during their meeting held on May 20 in Ouagadougou. "This prayer is not limited to Burkina Faso. It applies to Nigeria, Mali, Niger and all other African countries hidden from the attention of the media, but suffering the violence of evil men." The bishops of Burkina Faso prayed for this particular intention during the mass that marked the end of a national day of fasting and prayer for peace and social cohesion.
The Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo, stressed that "peace is a gift from God; peace is also the fruit of human effort", and urged the people of God in Burkina Faso to "unite their voices to ask God for the grace of peace". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 31/5/2023)