A Priest serving in Burkina Faso’s Diocese of Banfora located in the Southwestern part of the West African nation is missing, the Local Ordinary of the Diocese has announced.
In his statement circulated Wednesday, January 20, Bishop Lucas Kalfa Sanou asks for prayers to find the missing Priest “safe and sound as soon as possible.”
“I bring to everyone’s attention that Father Rodrigue Sanon, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Peace in Soubaganyedougou, is missing today, January 19, 2021,” Bishop Sanou announces.
He adds in the statement obtained by ACI Africa, “Father Rodrigue Sanon had left Soubaganyedougou for Banfora in order to participate in a meeting but he never arrived at his destination.”
“I invite all the faithful to a fervent prayer so that Father Rodrigue can be found safe and sound as soon as possible,” implores the Local Ordinary of Banfora.
He further says that the relevant authorities have been informed of Fr. Sanou’s disappearance and they are “working hard to find him.”
The Burkinabe Bishop goes on to ask anyone with information about the missing Cleric to report to him, the local police, or any Priest in the Diocese.
According to Journal de Montreal, residents of Banfora found the Priests vehicle abandoned on the road, raising fears of a kidnapping by armed groups operating in the region.
Burkina Faso, one of the countries of the Sahel, has witnessed attacks from Islamic militant groups.
The Northern and Eastern parts of Burkina Faso have been most affected by a five-year-old jihadist offensive from the insurgents that include Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Ansarul Islam in recent years.
The attacks that have also targeted churches and the Christian faithful have seen religious leaders in the country murdered while some have been abducted.
In March 2019, Fr. Joël Yougbaré, the Parish Priest of Djibo in the Diocese of Dori in Northern Burkina Faso went missing on his way to the Parish after celebrating Sunday Mass in Bottogui. He is yet to be traced.
In May of the same year, a Priest and five worshippers were killed when militiamen attacked the Church in Dablo within the Catholic Diocese of Kaya, where they were worshipping.
Last year, Bishops in Burkina Faso raised concerns about rising cases of insecurity in the West African country saying the situation is “more worrying than ever”.
In their 16 July 2020 statement, the members of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina-Niger (CEBN) expressed concerns about the situation of insecurity saying it is preventing Clerics from reaching the faithful.
They called on collective efforts to combat insecurity, adding, “It is a challenge to be met at all costs; it is a challenge for the entire nation and we must pool our energies.”