Vatican News – Vatican City; Agenzia Fides – Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
“Fr. Siméon Yampa was a humble person and obedient and full of love. He loved his parishioners,” writes the newly ordained Bishop of Kaya in Burkina Faso, Théophile Nare, in a tribute, to the young parish priest who died in the attack.
Fr. Siméon and five parishioners were killed when Jihadists attacked the Church of Dablo after Sunday Mass on 12 May.
The attack occurred between 9am and 10 am in Dablo, a village 90 km from Kaya, in the province of Sanmatenga, north-central of Burkina Faso. The armed militants also burned down the Church building, nearby shops and a health centre.
Fr. Siméon Yampa was born on 19 February 1985. He was ordained priest on 7 July 2014 in Kaya.
Jihadists aim to disrupt Christian – Muslim relations
Attacks against Christian communities are on the increase in Burkina Faso. Jihadists seek to drive a wedge between Christians and Muslims who have lived in peace for ages.
On 28 April, at the end of the celebration in Silgadji, in the province of Soum, a Protestant pastor was murdered along with five other members of the Church.
In mid-February, a Spanish priest and four customs officers were killed in a Jihadist attack in eastern Burkina Faso. And there is still no news of the whereabouts of Fr. Joël Yougbaré, the parish priest of Djibo, who disappeared in the north of the country on Sunday, 17 March, this year.
Episcopal Conference Secretaries General meet in Ouagadougou.
In the meantime, Episcopal Conference Secretaries-General of the region are meeting in a plenary assembly in Ouagadougou from 13 May to 20 May.
The meeting is being held in the context of terrorism and religious extremism in the region. The General Secretaries of the national episcopal conferences within the West African region known as Inter-territorial Conferences of West Africa are meeting under the auspices of RECOWA-CERAO.
The government must tackle religious extremism
Fr. Donald Zagore, of the Society for Missionaris of Africa (SMA), told Agenzia Fides that, “Still today, in the name of Allah the merciful, people kill. But the truth is that Allah does not send anyone to kill on his behalf. Those who kill in the name of Allah are only criminals who deserve to be arrested and judged according to the laws in force,” he said.
Regional Church united against terrorism
According to Fr. Zagore, today more than ever, the Church of West Africa wants to show the world that the Christians of Burkina Faso are not and will never be alone in this fight against religious extremism. The SMA priest says the fight against extremism will be won because “we are aware of the fact that evil will never have the last word in our lives.”
The priest has since called on the Burkinabe authorities to find practical and concrete ways of tackling the challenge of religious extremism.
Regional Governments need to tackle terrorism as one
Fr. Zagore further says, “It is time for our regional governments to truly unite, deploying the necessary means to put an end to this human tragedy. In unity and solidarity we will overcome religious extremism,” he said.