Burkina Faso: Kidnappers Release Pastor and His family after Four Days

Burkina Faso: Kidnappers Release Pastor and His family after Four Days

The Christian pastor who was abducted on Sunday with his family in Burkina Faso’s north-eastern province of Soum has been released.

Local sources told national broadcaster Omega Radio that Pastor Pierre Boena, his son David and his daughter-in-law, Ami Sawadogo were released yesterday (7 June).

The report does not specifically mention the two granddaughters, Fasne-wendé Ouédraogo and Pélagie Sawadogo, who were also abducted during the raid on Sunday, but does state that the pastor was released “with all the other members of his family in Malian territory”.

The reason for their release is not known, nor is it known whether a ransom was paid.

Pierre Boena, a pastor with an Assembly of God church, was kidnapped on Sunday evening in his village of Bilhore, near the border with Mali.

At the time of the attack he was at home with four family members and a church member, Pauline Sawadogo, who was visiting with her two daughters, Sanata and Zoenabou, local sources told World Watch Monitor.

These sources suggested that Pauline and her daughters may have been kidnapped along with Pastor Boena’s family on Sunday. Speaking on Thursday they said the whereabouts of Pauline and her daughters remain unknown.

Meanwhile there has still been no news regarding catechist Basnéré Mathieu Sawadogo, and his wife Alizeta, who were abducted two weeks earlier. Mathieu serves as a catechist at their parish, Notre Dame des Apôtres (Our Lady of the Apostles) in Arbinda, 100km from Djibo.

Kidnappers have previously targeted Djibo. Eighteen months ago an Australian couple were taken hostage from the city by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Ken and Jocelyn Elliott had run a 120-bed clinic for 40 years until their abduction in January 2016. Jocelyn was released a month later, but her husband remains in captivity.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the recent kidnappings but World Watch Monitor understands that the perpetrators are believed to be members of the Fulani ethnic group.

Some relatives have been able to speak over the phone with the hostages, who told their family that they were in good health and were being treated well by their abductors.

The kidnappings could be the result of acts of violence against Fulani communities by security forces which, it was said, had angered them.

The Fulani and the Tuareg are the two main nomadic ethnic groups in northern Burkina Faso, and in neighbouring Mali and Niger.

Access to grazing land and water have caused tensions between the two communities. Militant members of the two communities are also fighting alongside numerous Islamist groups active in the Sahel region.