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#32 in Christian persecution, Burkina Faso






Islamic oppression




Very High






Presidential republic


President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré


Violence 14.8/16.7

Church Life 12.1/16.7

National Life 9.6/16.7

Community Life 12.0/16.7

Family Life 9.7/16.7

Private Life 9.4/16.7

What does persecution look like in Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso is located in a region where Islamist groups have a huge and growing influence. The central government is very weak, particular in the east of the country where Islamic law is informally implemented by groups who’ve gained control over these areas. Jihadist violence has been rapidly increasing in recent years, and extremists have exploited the government’s weakness during the COVID-19 crisis to gain control of the country’s infrastructure. This has led to hundreds of church closures—while many Christians are among those who’ve fled their homes because of extremist attacks. There are over 1 million internally displaced people in Burkina Faso, many of whom are Christians.

Believers who’ve converted from Islam face the most persecution. Family and community members often reject them and try to force them to renounce their Christian faith. Many are afraid to express their faith in public because of such threats.

Meet “Salamata”

“They told us we deserved what happened to us because the jihadists told us to stop making noise.”

Salamata is a teenager—her church was looted and burned down by jihadists, who then killed all the men. She attended Open Doors trauma care.

What has changed this year?

The persecution of Christians in Burkina Faso has worsened slightly over the past year. This is largely due to an increase in reported incidents of violence, which reflects the growing influence of Islamic extremist groups in the country.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

While extremist attacks target all Christians, those who’ve converted from Islam face additional persecution from their families and communities. Christians in the north and east of the country experience most pressure and violence, particularly outside the main cities. In the west of the country, ethno-religious groups also put pressure on Christians.

How does Open Doors help Christians in Burkina Faso?

Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen Christians in Burkina Faso by providing persecution survival training, relief aid, and spiritual and trauma care.

Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2021).

Pray for Burkina Faso

  • Pray for wisdom for the government and its international partners as it seeks to bring an end to Burkina Faso’s insecurity.

  • Pray that the Lord will be at work in the lives of traumatized believers to bring healing and comfort.

  • Ask God for protection over Open Doors partners as they travel to volatile regions, and for God’s blessing on plans and logistics.

Stories from Burkina Faso

June 13, 2022

Living under jihadist rule—Burkina Faso needs our prayers

April 20, 2022

2,100 Burkina Faso families receive critical aid to survive

January 31, 2022

The top 5 trends from the 2022 World Watch List

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