(Worthy News) - The entire Christian population of a town in Burkina Faso was forced to flee following two attacks by radicals as the shadow of Islamism creeps across the Western African nation.
Nineteen people were killed in Arbinda and 10 more in the adjacent town of Namentenga on Sunday, June 19th, leaving Christians without their homes and the necessity of coming to grips with an increasing frequency of targeted attacks in recent months.
"This is the biggest shock of our lives as Christians. Never in our wildest imagination did we think this would happen and that today we would be left at the mercy of other believers in safer areas," Pastor Daniel Sawadogo told Open Doors USA.
The former French colony’s foreign minister has called the rise of Islamic State ideology in his country and its neighbors a fight “for the very survival” of the African Sahel region, which borders the Sahara desert to the North and the Sudanese Savanah to the South, and encompasses Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania.
Burkina Faso, which means “land of incorruptible people,” has been riven with intermittent military coups and periods of stability that finally culminated in a power vacuum created by the ouster of longtime President Blaise Compaore in 2014.
As a harbinger of things to come, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) carried out a terrorist strike on a luxury hotel in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital, in January 2016 that killed 30 people.
"Pain may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. We are suffering today, but our hearts are strong in the Lord. He will come to our rescue in due course," Pastor Phillipe Bamogo told Open Doors USA.