Islamist extremists order Christian villagers to flee or convert

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Military troops ride in a vehicle in central Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, following an Islamic extremist attack on March 2, 2018. (AP Photo/ Ludivine Laniepce)

Christians living in northern Burkina Faso have had to leave their villages or convert to Islam following violent ultimatums by Islamist extremists.

An unnamed source told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that almost 2,000 villagers had fled Rounga and Hitté after attacks early this September. 

Speaking about the Hitté attack the source clarified that 16 men arrived in the village and intercepted the villagers returning from their fields.

“Some of the men forced the people to enter the church where they threatened the Christians and ordered them to leave their homes in the next three days, while others set fire to whatever they found in their path. Now Hitté is empty of any Christians and any catechumens,” the source said.

The source added that weapons that were used were not made in Burkina Faso and that someone was manipulating the people to become violent. He also said that the responsibility lies abroad for the increase in the country’s violence. 

ACN was told that the first village to be attacked was Toulfé in May 2019 where 5 people were murdered by jihadists. Currently, there are 7,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) seeking shelter in Titao after being attacked.

Social and pastoral support is being organized by the Catholic Church, including counseling for trauma victims and medical care for the elderly and sick. 

Many people who are focusing on this issue say the only thing this does is push more people away from the flawed religion of Islam.

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