Burkina Faso thankful as peace returns

People of West African nation have new hope after government is overthrown

Dec 8, 2014 by and

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Mennonite leaders in Burkina Faso are thanking God that peace returned quickly after violence led the West African nation’s president to resign.

Traore

Traore

On Oct. 30, protestors marched on the presidential palace and burned the parliament building. Their display of outrage blocked a vote to amend the constitution that would have allowed President Blaise Compaoré to extend his 27-year term of office.

On Oct. 31, Compaoré resigned. Michel Kafando, formerly a foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations, was chosen by a panel of religious, military, political, civil and traditional leaders to serve as interim president. He will lead the country through a transition to democratic elections.

When the violence broke out, Mennonite Mission Network personnel and partners in Burkina Faso asked Mennonites in North America to pray that God would intervene.

Siaka Traoré, president of the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso, wrote in an Oct. 30 email: “Our country is tottering on the brink of disaster, but Eternal God is a refuge for his children.”

The next day, Compaoré announced he would resign.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep,” Traoré said. “The people have obtained what they wanted.”

Anne Garber Kompaoré, who has served in Burkina Faso for more than three decades with Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission and MMN, reported that two days after the protests erupted many of the same people who had taken to the streets in anger were cleaning up the wreckage.

By Nov. 3, Kompaoré was able to fly out of the capital, Ouaga­dougou, to Jos, Nigeria, where she serves as a consultant for Bible translation. She was impressed that a Nigerian translator whose home and town were looted and burned by Boko Haram militants was praying for the Christians of Burkina Faso.

On Nov. 17, Nancy Frey, who has served with MMN since 1999, wrote that a local pastor “talked about how well the different religious groups work together in Burkina Faso — traditional chiefs, Cath­olic, Prot­estant and Muslim lead­ers. There is a good relationship that is respectful and aimed at maintaining peace and stability, unlike the situation in many countries where there is hostility among the various groups.”


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