Salamata’s Pain After Extremist Attack on Her Church in Burkino Faso

BURKINO FASO — For 19-year-old Salamata* from Burkina Faso in West Africa, life has been incredibly difficult. She witnessed an extremist attack on her church and struggles to see God’s hand on her life. Open Doors has provided her with an aid package and trauma counselling but she still has many unanswered questions.


“Our extended family looked down on us. There was no curse they wouldn’t speak against us. They insulted us the whole day and cast terrible spells on us.”

19-year-old Salamata from Burkino Faso is from a Muslim family. They banished her father after he converted to Christ. Salamata was sent to live with a pastor in another village where she could attend the high school. But on 28 April, 2019, jihadists attacked the pastor’s church and singled out the Christian men.

“The attackers ordered the six men in the church to follow them to the back of the church. From where we – the women and children – sat, we could partly see the back of the church. We saw the pastor and the other men follow them behind the church. Some of the attackers surrounded us, while others burned the motorbikes that they did not want to loot.

“The whole area was filled with smoke. We were still seated when we heard gunshots behind the church. After the attackers left, the pastor’s wife went to see what happened. She fainted when she saw that they had killed all the men. I went to help her. We found a phone and called some people to come and help us. Then we covered the bodies with cloths.

“That night I couldn’t eat, because only then I realized that what had happened was real. Suddenly I got very scared. I started having sleepless nights. I would remain up all night without sleeping until morning because when I closed my eyes I saw those attackers.”

Since 2016, many Christians and moderate Muslims have fled their homes in the face of increasing jihadist attacks. Many live in camps for internally displaced people, where Covid-19 has exposed them to even more hardship. At the end of 2020 Open Doors partners were able to deliver aid packages to help 1,000 families including Salamata.

She received some basic trauma care too, but still struggles with many unanswered questions.

“Sometimes I cry. To me it feels like, from my childhood until now God refuses to see or understand. Recently people told me to pray. But I refused because in my life it looks like God doesn’t hear people’s prayers. When we became Christians we were banished from the family. Then Jesus became our dad and mum while we stayed with this pastor but He allowed the pastor to be murdered. Where has God gone. In our lives, we know only tears and suffering. I can only hope that God will eventually have compassion on us and wipe away our tears.”

*name changed for security purposes.

Read more news on Christian Persecution, World Missions and the COVID 19 Pandemic.

About Open Doors UK

Open Doors is a non-denominational mission that supports persecuted Christians in over 70 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed. In their work, they provide vital support, training, and resources to those facing persecution or discrimination.

Resources that they provide include distributing Bibles and literature, running leadership training, assisting with socio-economic development and intercessory prayer. They also help victims of violence and disaster, including widows and orphans, with practical support such as relief aid, livelihood support, and community development projects.

Their vision is of a world in which every Christian who is persecuted is remembered and supported by other Christians. They pray for a world where there is no persecution.

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