Women in the village of Tin'Akoff commune, Burkina Faso. Photo: Amanda Farrant/ACT/Christian Aid

Women in the village of Tin'Akoff commune, Burkina Faso. Photo: Amanda Farrant/ACT/Christian Aid

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the ACT Alliance, in a joint letter to Burkina Faso president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, expressed concern for developments affecting the security and human rights of many of the nation’s people.

“We are aware that over the last five years, Burkina Faso has been increasingly afflicted by extremist violence,” the letter reads. “In addition to the deaths of hundreds of people, a spate of kidnappings, and the closure of many schools and churches, this violence has led to a massive and continuous displacement of populations from the affected regions.”

According to the latest UN information, in early October 486,360 internally displaced people were registered, more than twice as many as in July. “Since July, the number of people receiving food assistance has doubled to around 735,000,” notes the letter. “Our churches and partners are already on the ground assisting the affected communities, and we are exploring ways in which we can scale up our support and accompaniment.”

Through this letter WCC and ACT Alliance particularly highlight an urgent and immediate situation in the vicinity of Kongoussi town in northern-central Burkina Faso, where in one church compound of the Association of Evangelical Reformed Churches of Burkina Faso more than 200 people who have fled from attacks on nearby villages – the majority of them children – are taking refuge.

The letter continues: “We join in urgently appealing to the Government of Burkina Faso to do its utmost to project a stronger military presence in this region, in order to protect people who are in imminent fear for their lives, against an advancing wave of extremist attacks.”

WCC and ACT also offered prayers for resolve and wisdom in Kaboré's efforts to confront the threat to the nation as a whole, to preserve all Burkinabé people from sectarian violence and divisions, to arrest the worsening humanitarian emergency resulting from these attacks, and to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of so many affected people. “We join you in calling on the international community to provide the necessary support for your government to rise to these critical challenges,” the letter concludes.

Joint letter of WCC and ACT Alliance to the President of Burkina Faso

WCC member churches in Burkina Faso