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10/14/2020 Burkina Faso (International Christian Concern) – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released its report on the situation in Burkina Faso this past week. The report focuses on the attacks that have been targeting places of worship in the country. “Burkina Faso was long viewed as a bastion of religious tolerance and interfaith harmony in west Africa. However, in recent years, religious freedom conditions in Burkina Faso have deteriorated, with the country facing interrelated security and humanitarian crises. Attacks on both Muslim and Christian houses of worship and religious leaders have spiked as jihadist and other militia groups expand their area of influence throughout the country. The government is struggling to rein in the violence, and poor performance and misconduct by government affiliated forces are exacerbating the situation.”

The jihadist groups that the report refers to are from bordering country Mali and have moved south to try and take land in Burkina Faso’s weakly defended North. These jihadist groups have conducted many attacks against both civilian and government targets. They have also on a number of occasions targeted Christians, their leaders and their places of worship.

Since the government has been struggling to deal with these incursions, they started a new program last year in which they gave two weeks of training to civilians. This training was meant to help local better defend their homes and villages from jihadist groups. However, some of those who have received this training and the weapons given by the government has used them to kill innocent civilians in neighboring villages. They have used the claim that these villagers were hiding or aiding the jihadists. Both the jihadists and these local militias are known to have committed human rights violations and must be stopped by the Burkinabe government.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.