RIP Fr. Rodrigue Sanon - Lifeless Body of Missing Catholic Priest Found in Burkina Faso - Bishops Worry about Religious Violence


AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - The body of the missing priest has been found.

Ouagadougou (Agenzia Fides) - "It is with deep sorrow that I bring to everyone's knowledge that the lifeless body of Fr. Rodrigue Sanon was found on 21 January in the forest of Toumousseni about twenty kilometers from Banfora". This is how His Exc. Mgr. Lucas Kalfa Sanou, Bishop of Banfora announced the death of the parish priest of Notre Dame de la Paix in Soubakanyedougou, in the south-west of Burkina Faso, who disappeared on January 19 (see Fides, 21/1/2021).

Pending further information on the circumstances of his death, Mgr. Lucas invited the faithful "to pray intensely for his soul, and remain confident in the merciful love of the Lord".

Fr. Rodrigue Sanon, parish priest of Soubaganyedougou (diocese of Banfora) had disappeared on Tuesday 19 January, while going to Banfora where he never arrived for a meeting of priests with Mgr. Lucas Kalfa Sanon.

The research carried out led to the discovery of his car on the Soubaganyedougou-Banfora road, near Toumousséni, about twenty kilometers from his destination.

The announcement of the priest's death aroused amazement and questions within the diocese and especially among the parishioners of whom he had been parish priest since 2018, Church sources report to Agenzia Fides. One wonders in particular "whether Fr. Sanon was the victim of bandits or fell into the hands of terrorists, given the context of insecurity in Burkina Faso". Questions that bring to mind the kidnapping of another priest, Father Joël Yougbaré, on March 17, 2019 in the diocese of Dori (of whom we still have no news, see Fides 20/3/2019) and the murder of Fr. Simeon Yampa and 5 faithful on 13 May 2019 (see Fides, 13/5/2019 ).

On several occasions the Bishops have denounced the insecurity in which the populations of increasingly large areas of Burkina Faso live (see Fides, 13/7/2020 and 9/11/2020). According to the UN, Burkina Faso is the country with the fastest growth rate in the number of displaced persons, with more than one million people displaced due to outbreaks of violence. (L.M.) (Source: Agenzia Fides, 22/1/2021)