Ouagadougou | A Catholic priest is missing in the Banfora region in southwestern Burkina Faso near Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, the region’s archbishopric said on Wednesday, sparking fears of a kidnapping in that country plagued by many jihadist attacks.
“Father Rodrigue Sanon, parish priest of Notre Dame de Soubaganyedougou, is missing on January 19,” Bishop Lucas Kalfa Sanou announced in a press release on Wednesday.
“He had left Soubaganyedougou for Banfora in order to participate in a meeting but never arrived at his destination”, he added, adding that the archbishopric “seized the competent authorities who are doing everything possible to find him” .
According to residents of Banfora, the priest’s vehicle was found on the axis leading to Banfora, raising fears of an abduction by armed groups, some of which affiliated with jihadist nebulae.
A security source joined by AFP indicated that “the alert was given in the afternoon and search operations were carried out” as soon as the disappearance but “no trace of him” had been found Wednesday morning. .
Burkina Faso has been the scene of jihadist attacks for five years, especially in the north and east of the territory.
These attacks, which also target churches and religious, have left nearly 1,100 dead and more than a million displaced since 2015, in this poor Sahelian country in West Africa.
In mid-August, the grand imam of Djibo and president of the Muslim community of this important northern city, Souaibou Cissé, was found dead three days after his kidnapping by a group of armed individuals who had intercepted the bus in which he was traveling. .
A year earlier, in March 2019, the parish priest of the same city (Djibo) had also been kidnapped on the Botogui-Djibo axis, according to the bishop of Dori Mgr Laurent Dabiré.
On February 15, 2018, Father César Fernandez, a Spanish missionary, was killed in central Burkina Faso.