A priest has gone missing in southeastern Burkina Faso, triggering fears of a kidnapping in the Sahel state, which is struggling with a five-year-old jihadist offensive, the Catholic Church said Wednesday.
The bishop of Banfora, Lucas Kalfa Sanou, said Father Rodrigue Sanon had not been seen since Tuesday.
“He left Soubaganyedougou for a meeting in Banfora but never arrived,” Sanou said in a statement, adding that the authorities had been asked to do all they can to find him.
Residents in Banfora said the priest’s vehicle had been found on the road leading into the town of Soubaganyedougou, sparking fears of an abduction by armed groups, some of which are close to shadowy jihadist organizations.
One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso is struggling with a ruthless insurgency by armed Islamists who swept in from neighboring Mali in 2015.
Almost 1,100 people have died and more than a million people have fled their homes.
Last August, the grand imam of the northern town of Djibo, was found dead three days after gunmen stopped the car he was traveling in and kidnapped him.
In March 2019, a priest in Djibo was kidnapped, and in February 2018, a Catholic missionary, Cesar Fernandez, was murdered in the center of the country.