With a further four believers shot dead in cold blood, Burkina Faso, though already very notorious with religious persecution against Christians, is suddenly becoming one of the most dangerous place to become a Christian on the West African coast.
According to Christian Persecution charity Open Doors USA, on June 27, heavily armed militants were spotted entering the village of Bani with the aim of hunting down followers of Jesus. The small community was gripped with a paralyzing fear as the militants proceeded to order everyone to lie down.
Then, a search ensued. The terrorists had one clear mission: find those who claim Jesus as their Lord and savior. They searched tirelessly for anything that might identify the individuals as Christ-followers. Then, tragically, they succeeded—four men were found to be wearing crosses around their necks.
As soon as it became clear that these men were Christians, they were dragged away from the group and brutally executed. Their names were David Zoungrana, Philippe Zoungrana, Theophile Ouedraogo and Ernest Kassoaga.
“At this stage, we don’t know their ages or anything about the families David, Philippe, Theophile and Ernest left behind,” wrote Lindy Lowery at Open Doors USA. “Just that they followed Jesus—and their faith was part of them. They weren’t afraid to make a public statement of their belief in an area known internationally for its display of seven adobe mosques–six of which are built at the top of Bani’s main hill.”
Unsatisfied with their murderous acts, the men then went on to torch David Zoungrana’s shop. The group then headed through another town, Pougrenoma, where they warned residents, under pain of death, against reporting the incident to any government or military officials. The militants also ordered that any Christians in the community must convert to Islam or risk execution.
Some 27 Christians have been murdered in Burkina Faso since February 27. Heartbreakingly, the number of attacks against communities of faith has increased dramatically in recent years. In 2016, there were 12 reported jihadist attacks, in 2017 there were 33 and in 2018 this number rocketed up to an astonishing 158.