- Title: Burkinabe Christians prepare for Christmas after religious attacks
- Date: 24th December 2019
- Summary: BANDE BOWING AT THE END OF MASS
- Embargoed: 7th January 2020 10:28
- Keywords: attacks christmas insecurity islamic groups
- Location: OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO
- City: OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO
- Country: Burkina Faso
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA002BBC3FBR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Christians in Burkina Faso prepare to celebrate Christmas, ending a year which saw an Islamist insurgency igniting ethnic and religious tensions in the country, rendering large parts ungovernable.
Ouagadougou resident and devout Catholic, Regina Bande attends mass every morning at the church of the Patte D'oie.
Bande says she regularly talks to friends who live in more dangerous parts of the country to stay informed about the security situation.
"I often speak to people who are at Ouahigouya in the north and in the Sahel as well. They say it is not easy as a Christian because when they go to mass they don't know if it will be their last Sunday. But our faith and our hopes guide us always, it leads us to persevere," Bande said.
Two weeks ago at least 14 people were shot dead in an attack on a church in the village of Hantoukoura near the border with Niger, an area known for banditry, that has come under attack over the past year from suspected Jihadist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State.
The timing of the latest incident, during hours of worship, mirrored other attacks on Christians this year -- a new phenomenon in a West African country that has long prided itself on its religious tolerance.
But for Bande, these attacks should not stop people from worshipping even if some can be discouraged.
"Our faith cannot be shaken by the events that we are going through. Some may feel discouraged but I always say that feeling discouraged must not lead to being in that state for too long, we always have to pull ourselves together if ever we are disturbed by what we are living through these days in Burkina Faso," she said.
Despite these events, Bande still prepares for her family's Christmas celebrations as she does every year.
But not everyone is doing the same, this year vendors selling Christmas products say business is not doing well.
"In previous years we had more business but this year it's not going well. There was no market, people don't have money, there are tensions in the country so this year people don't have money, people are not happy. So the sales this year were not as good as last year," said Augustine Ouedraogo, a market vendor.
Burkina Faso was once a pocket of calm in the region, but the past year's violence has killed hundreds and forced nearly a million people from their homes.
(Ndiaga Thiam, Christophe Van Der Perre)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: Audio restrictions: This clip's Audio includes copyrighted material. User is responsible for obtaining additional clearances before publishing the audio contained in this clip.