On Sunday, April 28, as many as a dozen gunmen on motorbikes arrived at a small Assemblies of God church in Sirgadji, Burkina Faso. According to Michel Ouédraogo, Burkina Faso AG general superintendent, the attackers singled out Pastor Peter Ouédraogo and took five other men from the congregation, executing them after demanding they convert to Islam. Among the victims were Pastor Ouédraogo’s son and brother-in-law.
The attack occurred around 12 p.m. local time, just as the Sunday service was drawing to a close.
“Burkina Faso has been a place of relative peace for many years,” says AGWM West Africa Area Director Randy Tarr. “In recent years with the rise of jihadist terrorism in West Africa, Burkina Faso has suffered many attacks through its porous borders with Mali and Niger.”
Tarr also states that through the valiant efforts of the Assemblies of God of Burkina Faso, local churches have been planted along much of that border. Many of the pastors who serve are working among people groups other than their own, and church growth is thriving.
“General Superintendent Ouédraogo told me that many pastors in the north have been threatened, but that they are refusing to leave,” Tarr says. “Pastor Peter had been threatened before but refused to leave town.”
While terrorists associated with al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and Ansarul Islam are all known to be active in the area, the association of Sunday’s attackers is yet unknown.
“Please pray that God would put a hedge of protection around His people and also that ‘the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,’ [Philippians 4:7] will guard the hearts and the minds of those serving in these insecure areas,” Tarr says.