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83-year-old US nun kidnapped as Christian charity urges people to pay attention to Burkina Faso

by Alex Collett

A Christian charity has reported an 83-year-old American nun has been kidnapped from Burkina Faso in West Africa, last Monday night.

Open Doors, a Christian charity supporting persecuted Christians around the world, has said Sister Suellen Tennyson was taken by armed men who also vandalised the nunnery before leaving. 

Armed groups, some with links to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State, have taken over large swaths of territory in Burkina Faso and conduct frequent attacks on the army and civilians

Illia Djadi, Open Doors' Senior Analyst for Freedom of Religion and Belief in sub-Saharan Africa told Premier the spotlight needs to be shone on the attacks taking place there.

 He said: "We need media attention on Burkina Faso, we can't forget it, despite the ongoing war in Ukraine and other parts of the world.

"The whole region of Burkina Faso is deeply affected and our fear is that it will now be forgotten. 

"Don't forget the crisis, people are affected by violence on daily basis inside the Sahel region. 

"Because if we consider the situation already in Burkina Faso, actually, 1,800,000 people are internally displaced.

"More than 2000 people killed in Burkina Faso and you have more than 3000 schools closed because of security issues in Burkina Faso, half million children out of school in Burkina Faso. 

"So you can see the scale of the humanitarian disaster created by the violence in Burkina Faso and the whole northern Burkina Faso is emptied from its Christian population. 

"So that's the issue the particular fossil. 

"So the situation is so badly dramatic, but it's not getting the attention from the international community, from the media or from the humanitarian organisation."

Illia Djadi has urged everyone to pray for Sister Suellen Tennyson's release. He said: "This is a sad event. 

"Why would they target a woman, an elderly woman, a religious woman, providing good things, providing health care for the community? 

"That's the big issue. 

"So let's pray for her to stay well, and for her release. 

"A quick and safe release. 

"Let's pray also for the traumatised community, because they don't understand it, can't make sense of this.

"So let's pray for the church leaders trying to come up with this and trying to provide support for the rest of the community."

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