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12/18/2019 Burkina Faso (International Christian Concern) – Groups with links to al Qaeda and the Islamic State are growing in Africa and leveraging power by seizing control of illegal gold mines, particularly in Burkina Faso. Jihadists have gained access to approximately 2 billion dollars’ worth of illegal gold trade.

On 6 November a group of traveling miners was attacked, which resulted in 39 killed, 15 of whom were Christians. The growing influence and presence of jihadists in Burkina Faso corresponds to increased concern by Christians over their security and safety.

According to a Reuters report, the gold mines offer many benefits to Islamic militants. They offer safe hiding in hidden mines and also funds many of their illegal and violent activities, including recruiting and arms. A government survey reported that half of the 2,200 informal gold mines identified were located within a close range of locations that militants have attacked.

Barnabas Fund reports that thousands of Christians have fled the region to escape harm at the hands of extremists. In village, church and mine attacks, at least 166 Christians have been killed in Burkina Faso in 2019.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator:  [email protected]