An elderly displaced Christian woman rests in a church in Kaya, Burkina Faso, May 16, 2019. Bishops' conferences from Francophone West Africa have pledged solidarity with Christian communities after a spate of Islamist attacks. CNS photo/Anne Mimault, Reuters

Bishops condemn ‘terrorist outrages’

By 
  • May 30, 2019

Bishops’ conferences from Francophone West Africa have pledged solidarity with Christian communities after a spate of Islamist attacks and urged governments and religious leaders to do more to counter “unlooked-for menaces, tragedies and catastrophes.”

“Terrorist outrages are sowing desolation and disorder, especially in Christian communities — with hearts full of emotion and sadness, we think of brothers and sisters who’ve paid with their lives for fidelity to the Gospel and devotion to the Virgin Mary,” said the Regional Episcopal Conference of Francophone West Africa, known by the French acronym CERAO.

“We express our strongest condemnation at this disquieting wave of violence and assure our bruised brethren of solidarity, prayerful communion and compassion.”

At least 10 Catholics, including a priest, were killed in extremist attacks on Catholic parishes during May in Burkina Faso. These followed other attacks on Catholics in February and March.

Attacks on Christian communities also occurred in neighbouring Niger and Mali, in what is widely seen as a drive by North African Islamists to extend control in the Francophone region.

“Religious leaders must rise together to denounce any instrumentalization of religion, particularly killings perpetrated in the name of God,” said the Catholic bishops from Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Benin, Mali, Togo, Ivory Coast and Guinea.

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