Four Christian men in the West African nation of Burkina Faso were singled out for their faith and promptly executed after armed terrorists invaded their village in late June, according to a report from Open Doors, which serves persecuted Christians worldwide.
The deaths of David Zoungrana, his younger brother Philippe, Theophile Ouedraogo and Ernest Kassoaga were meant to emphasize a message the militants delivered to the villagers: convert to Islam or risk execution. The attack was in the northern village of Bani, where a heavy Islamic influence exists.
“At this stage, we don’t know their ages or anything about the families David, Philippe, Theophile and Ernest left behind,” Open Doors reported on its website. “Just that they followed Jesus—and their faith was part of them. They weren’t afraid to make a public statement of their belief in an area known internationally for its display of seven adobe mosques–six of which are built at the top of Bani’s main hill.”
Since February, at least 27 Christians in Burkina Faso have been murdered for their faith, according to the group.
Following the murders, the terrorists located a shop run by David Zoungrana and burned it to the ground. The murders resemble other massacres that have taken place around the country this year, 23 of which have occurred since Easter.
News of the killings came as the U.S. State Department was planning its second Ministerial on Advancing Religious Freedom, an event occurring this week that highlighted persecuted religious minorities from countries such as Burma, Sudan, China, Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen.
On social media, Franklin Graham praised the White House and State Department for emphasizing the importance of religious freedom. President Trump hosted a group of persecution survivors at the White House.
“The President told them, ‘Each of you has suffered tremendously for your faith … In America, we’ve always understood that our rights come from God, not from government,’” Franklin recounted in a Facebook post. “I’m extremely grateful for this administration’s stand for religious freedom, not only in America, but around the world. Let the President, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Ambassador-at-Large Sam Brownback and others working to defend our religious freedom know what that means to you. …”