They Refused to Denounce Jesus

Pastor, 5 Others Shot After Church Service in Burkina Faso

In addition to Pastor Pierre, the attackers killed his son, Wend-Kuni, and his brother-in-law (a church deacon), Zoéyandé Sawadogo, as well as believers Sayouba and Arouna Sawadogo, and a primary school teacher, Elie Boena. Another was seriously injured and taken to a nearby hospital.

 

Last Sunday seemed like any Sunday for 80-year-old Pastor Pierre OuIt, who has spent 40 years serving his church and Sirgadji village community in the northeastern Soum province of Burkina Faso. On April 28, he gathered for worship with his congregation in the West African country. And like every Sunday, he preached the Word of God with the wisdom that seasoned years of life and ministry bring.

But shortly after the service, an ordinary Sunday suddenly turned deadly and a church building where worshippers had just gathered became a crime scene.

Killed for Following Jesus

At about 1 pm, while Pastor Pierre was still talking with several congregants in the churchyard, a dozen men on motorbikes stormed the area.

A local leader who wished to remain anonymous told World Watch Monitor: “The assailants asked the Christians to convert to Islam, but the pastor and the others refused.”

Reportedly, the attackers gathered Pastor Pierre and the five other congregants under a tree and then confiscated their Bibles and cell phones.

“Then they called them, one after the other, behind the church building where they shot them dead,” the leader said.

In addition to Pastor Pierre, the attackers killed his son, Wend-Kuni, and his brother-in-law (a church deacon), Zoéyandé Sawadogo, as well as believers Sayouba and Arouna Sawadogo, and a primary school teacher, Elie Boena. Another was seriously injured and taken to a nearby hospital.

The men then set the church building and two motorbikes on fire. Before they left, they stole sheep and a bag of rice from Pastor Pierre’s home.

He and his five congregants were buried the same day in a ceremony that drew people from both Christian and Muslim communities. The pastor leaves behind his wife and six other children.

Other locals reported that the next day, the same attackers (some of them known to village residents as “young men who’ve been radicalized”) came back into the village “searching for Christians.”

The sources say the armed groups can move with impunity because of the lack of law enforcement in the area in the West African country.

“I Would Rather Die Than Leave”

Previously, Pastor Pierre told relatives about his concerns over the deterioration of security in the region, though there had been no incidents in his village.

The community leader said that when he and others advised the pastor to leave the area, he refused, saying he “would rather die for his faith than leave the community he has been serving for 40 years.”

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