BURKINA FASO: Another year, another priest shot dead

Pilgrims praying at the Shrine of Our Lady of Yagma, Burkina Faso.
Pilgrims praying at the Shrine of Our Lady of Yagma, Burkina Faso.

A 66-year-old priest has been shot dead by terrorists in Burkina Faso.

In a statement, a copy of which was sent to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Bishop Prosper Bonaventure Ky of Dédougou said Father Jacques Yaro Zerbo was murdered on Monday (2nd January) by “unidentified armed men”.

Bishop Ky said the killing took place in Soro village in Gassan commune, which is in the north-western region of Boucle du Mouhoun.

According to local sources the priest was killed on the Dédougou-Gassan road after being by detained by the armed men. His murderers took his vehicle.

Armed insurgents from neighbouring Mali have destabilised Boucle du Mouhoun over the past decade – and a state of emergency was in place until last month.

Bishop Ky added: “Through the infinite mercy of God, may his servant Father Jacques Yaro Zerbo rest in peace”.

According to research by ACN, more than 100 priests and religious Sisters were kidnapped, arrested or killed worldwide last year.

The charity found that at least 12 priests and five religious sisters were murdered during 2022.

Father Zerbo’s funeral took place yesterday (5th January 2023), at St Anne’s Cathedral in Dédougou. the capital of Boucle du Mouhoun.

Father Jacques Zerbo was born in Kolongo, Mali, on 28th December 1956 and was ordained on 19th July 1986 in Dédougou.

He taught in seminaries and formation centres throughout Burkina Faso.

One of his former students at the seminary of Saints Peter and Paul in Kossoghin said: “He taught with great passion, conviction, conscience and seriousness”.

Over the past few years Father Zerbo focused his ministry on helping young people at a centre for addicts in Gouyèlè.