Normalcy “gradually returning to Burkina Faso” Following Second Coup: Catholic Priest

Normalcy is gradually returning to Burkina Faso days after the country’s military leader, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, was ousted in a military coup.

Newsroom (08/10/2022 3:00 PM Gaudium Press) — On September 30, military officers in Burkina Faso announced the ousting of Lt. Col. Damiba, who came to power following the first coup d’état in the West African nation this year that started on January 23 and culminated in the deposition of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré after “a 36-hour uprising”, according to The Washington Post.

On October 2, Burkina Faso’s religious and traditional leaders said self-proclaimed leader Captain Ibrahim Traoré had accepted the “conditional resignation” that Lt. Col. Damiba had offered “to avoid further violence” following the September 30 coup, Reuters reported.

In a Tuesday, October 4 interview, Fr. Etienne Tandamba described the situation in Burkina Faso as “gradually returning” to “calm and serenity,” adding that the new military leaders are working to restore order.

“Calm and serenity are gradually returning to Burkina Faso. People are going about their activities without fear,” Fr. Tandamba, a member of the Clergy of Burkina Faso’s Fada N’Gourma Diocese, said. He added, “Schools are resuming. People are more concerned about the future of the nation.”

“President Damiba has left for Lomé, Togo. The new military leaders are trying to meet with civilians to choose a president,” said Burkinabe Priest, the Director of Communication of the Diocese of Fada N’Gourma Diocese. 

He said, “the new leaders are getting organized, still trying to find a president. They have not yet come out with any message.”

“Please continue to pray for our dear country. Our people need your prayers”

The “conditional resignation” of Burkina Faso’s ousted President, Lt. Col. Damiba, was based on some seven conditions, “including a guarantee of Damiba’s safety and the security of soldiers who backed him, and the honouring of promises made to the West Africa regional bloc to return to constitutional rule by July 2024,” Reuters has reported.

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Following the second military coup in Burkina Faso, the Archbishop of the country’s Ouagadougou Archdiocese, Philippe Cardinal Ouedraogo, has appealed for intensified prayer for “peace in our country and everywhere in the world.”

In his message on October 2, Cardinal Ouedraogo has his appeal for prayers contextualized in the request by the Pontifical Mission Societies during the Missionary Month of October.

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, at the beginning of October, missionary month, PMS proposes that we meditate on the following theme: You will be my witnesses (Acts 1:8). But how can we bear witness to the love and mercy of God in a country confronted with murderous terrorism that mourns men and women who are direct or collateral victims of this unjust and useless violence?” Cardinal Ouedraogo noted. And added: “Faced with these challenges of terrorism and political instability, the Church, which is closely linked to the world and its history, can only be a sign and witness of solidarity by promoting a world of love and fraternity.”

“Our Kalashnikov response is prayer. This means that we must intensify our prayer in this month of October for peace, peace in our country and everywhere in the world,” the Local Ordinary of Ouagadougou Archdiocese says.

“Our Kalashnikov response is prayer. This means that we must intensify our prayer in this month of October for peace, peace in our country and everywhere in the world,” the Local Ordinary of Ouagadougou Archdiocese says.

As part of the intensified prayers, Cardinal Ouedraogo invites the people of God in Burkina Faso to “be particularly zealous in participating in Eucharistic celebrations. For Holy Mass, as the Second Vatican Council says, is the source and summit of all Christian life.”

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“Indeed, the Holy Eucharist contains all the spiritual treasures of the Church, i.e. Christ himself,” he emphasizes.

In the Cardinal’s renewed call for prayers, the people of God will be expected to say “Our Father,” “Hail Mary”, “Glory be to the Father,” and “The prayer for Burkina Faso or the prayer to Saint Joseph or the prayer for Paul Cardinal Zoungrana” every day at the end of the Eucharistic Celebrations.

In his October 2 message, the 77-year-old Cardinal who started his Episcopal Ministry in November 1996 as Bishop of Burkina Faso’s Ouahigouya Diocese, also encourages “devotional prayers such as Eucharistic Adoration, the Rosary, Novenas, the prayers of the saints …. which all find their source in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”

“Together let us pray for all the victims of the terrorist attacks, for the bereaved families, and for the conversion of those who will die,” the immediate former President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) further says.

He implores, “May the Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, protector of the Universal Church, obtain for us the ability to be authentic witnesses of the Gospel and to give peace and stability to our dear country, Burkina Faso, which has once again been tested by a military coup.”

– Raju Hasmukh with files from ACI Africa

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