BURKINA FASO — Almost two million people in Burkina Faso have been displaced by extremist violence. Many are Christian widows and orphans. Traore* (17) is one of them. He moved to a safer area after a jihadist attack brought tragic loss to his family.
Sometimes, my heart is broken when I think about my father. What is painful is the fact that sometimes you can go somewhere, or sometimes you can be chatting together with other children and they start talking about their fathers. And I can’t say anything because I do not have a father anymore.
Almost two million people in Burkina Faso have been displaced by extremist violence. Many are Christian widows and orphans. 17-year-old Traore* is one of them. He moved to a safer area after a jihadist attack brought tragic loss to his family.
It was on a Tuesday, I don’t remember the date, in 2019. My father told me to go with him to a neighbouring village to gather grasses for our flock. When we were tying the herds, we heard the noise of motorbikes passing on the road. When they saw us, they made a U-turn and came towards us. As they were coming, my father said we should pray. He did not tell me what to pray for specifically, but as you can imagine, if those men are standing before you, you will not start praying and asking God for food or money. The only thing that matters then is life.
Their lives were indeed in danger. The men were carrying Islamic state flags and started questioning Traore’s father.
So while they were talking to my dad, I turned behind our tricycle and left without them noticing. When I had gone a little way, I heard a gunshot and I started running. I hid behind some houses. Then I left. As I was running, my shoes got left behind and I went back home barefoot.
Traore’s father had been shot dead by the jihadists. He was one of five victims that day alone. But although Traore misses spending time with his dad, his trust in God has not diminished following the attack.
When he was still alive, we used to go fishing together and do many other things together. But since he is gone, we can’t do these things anymore. If you don’t have a father, there are things you can’t do. But in my sadness, I have never thought that God has forgotten us, because he said that everything has its own time and he does everything according to his good will. Sometimes a difficulty can come and I think that if my father was still here he could solve this problem. But God knows what he is doing because he said that we should not worry about our lives. Now if we are facing difficulties we should look only to Jesus.
*Name changed for security reasons
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