Pô Celebrates Professor Michel Akotionga’s Advocacy and Humanitarian Efforts

PÔ — In a special tribute that resonated with profound respect and recognition, Professor Michel Akotionga, a renowned gynecologist and advocate against female genital mutilation (FGM), was honored by the National Radio Television of Burkina Faso. This event, held in sector No. 5 of Pô, highlighted Professor Akotionga’s commitment to healthcare and social issues.

According to Burkina Information Agency, the ceremony on Friday, March 29, 2024, celebrated Professor Akotionga’s contributions to medicine and his fight against FGM, showcasing his dedication to the welfare of women in Burkina Faso. In an emotionally charged interview, Professor Akotionga shared his personal motivations and broader concerns about the societal impact of politics and other pressing issues in Burkina Faso.

Professor Akotionga discussed his journey in medicine, shaped by the memory of his late mother and his desire to honor women’s struggles and achievements. His focus on combating FGM stems from a deep-seated belief in dignity and justice for all women, reflecting his optimism about eradicating this harmful practice in the future.

The professor also commented on the government’s recent healthcare initiatives, applauding the reduced costs for essential medical examinations which he believes will significantly aid the underprivileged. He expressed support for the transition government’s efforts, emphasizing the importance of public backing for these initiatives.

Addressing the new tradition day, Professor Akotionga praised the initiative for encouraging cultural reflection and unity, though he advised careful implementation to ensure its success. On the personal front, he explained his distance from politics, critiquing the divisive nature of political engagement in Burkina Faso that, in his view, has strained family bonds and undermined social cohesion.

Highlighting the issue of internally displaced persons (IDPs), Professor Akotionga called for greater awareness and support, acknowledging the long-term challenges they face. He voiced concerns over land disputes, warning of their potential to fracture communities further.

In terms of national defense, he commended the anti-terrorism efforts led by Captain Ibrahim Traoré and the sacrifices of the Combatant Forces. Lastly, Professor Akotionga articulated his vision for local development in Pô, advocating for a cultural center and improved infrastructure to harness the region’s potential and empower the youth.

Tributes from various individuals during the program painted a portrait of a compassionate, engaged, and humble individual deeply rooted in African values, highlighting his influential role in both his local community and beyond.

National Human Rights Commission Engages with Balé Populations to Enhance Visibility and Understanding

BOROMO — On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) conducted a crucial meeting in Boromo to elucidate its roles and responsibilities, particularly highlighting the activities of its Hauts Bassins regional branch, to both local authorities and civil society representatives.

According to Burkina Information Agency, the CNDH, an autonomous national entity established in 2001 dedicated to the advancement, protection, and advocacy of human rights in Burkina Faso, has faced challenges in achieving widespread recognition among the populace. This obscurity extends to the Hauts Bassins branch, operational since 2021 but still not well-known in the communities it aims to assist.

To address this gap, CNDH leadership initiated an outreach tour spanning March 19 to 29, 2024, across various regions including Boucle du Mouhoun, Hauts Bassins, Cascades, and Sud-Ouest. The objective is to disseminate information about the CNDH’s mandate and the specific missions of the Hauts Bassins branch to relevant regional stakeholders.

During the Boromo session, attendees were briefed through three detailed presentations covering the commission’s mandate, complaint processes, and the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture. These presentations were delivered by key CNDH personnel including Secretary General Paul KABRE, Complaints Department Head Germaine KIEMA, and Olivier KABRE, the Head of the Western Regional Branch Service.

The dialogue proved to be an enlightening experience for all participants, who engaged actively with the CNDH representatives, reflecting their appreciation for the commission’s effort to demystify its functions and services. Zakaria GUIRA, President of the Balé Provincial Youth Council, remarked on the necessity of openly addressing human rights amidst the country’s ongoing security issues, praising the CNDH’s commitment to community engagement and responsiveness.

Paul KABRE, reflecting on the mission’s success, emphasized the participants’ enthusiasm and the productive discourse, urging them to become information conduits within their communities. High Commissioner Ibrahim Boly also commended the initiative, recognizing it as a pivotal step in fostering a closer connection between the CNDH and the citizens it serves, underscoring the mission’s significance in bolstering human rights advocacy at the local level.

Gaoua Authorities Incinerate Thousands of Counterfeit Cigarettes

GAOUA — The Gaoua Gendarmerie Research Brigade carried out the incineration of 5,733 cartons of counterfeit cigarettes on Saturday, March 30, 2024, in a significant operation aimed at combating illegal trade activities. This event marked a critical step in addressing contraband and ensuring public health and economic protection in the region.

According to Burkina Information Agency, the counterfeit cigarettes, encompassing various brands, were seized in an operation underpinned by an anonymous tip received by the brigade earlier in March. The informant alerted the authorities about potentially illicit goods stored within a residential property. Acting on this information, the gendarmerie conducted a swift raid, uncovering the large cache of counterfeit cigarettes, which were subsequently confiscated.

The commander of the Gaoua gendarmerie brigade, Chief Warrant Officer Moussa Bangré, detailed the operation’s success, noting the seizure’s significance in thwarting the distribution of these illegal goods. Although the origin of the cigarettes was traced back to another country, the individual responsible for the contraband has yet to be apprehended.

Chief Warrant Officer Bangré underscored the broader implications of the seizure, highlighting the potential risks such counterfeit products pose to the national economy and public health. Moreover, he raised concerns about the possibility of such illicit sales funding terrorism. In light of these risks, the incineration represents not only a victory against illegal commerce but also a preventive measure against potential health and security threats.

The operation serves as a call to action for the community, with Bangré urging the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities. This collaborative approach between the authorities and the populace is deemed crucial for maintaining safety and thwarting illicit trade practices in the region.

Archbishop of Ouagadougou Advocates for Faith Amid National Challenges

OUAGADOUGOU — Amidst the Easter celebrations, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Monsignor Prosper Kontiébo, delivered a powerful message of hope and resilience to the Catholic faithful. Addressing congregants during the Easter vigil at the Ouagadougou Cathedral, the Archbishop encouraged believers to maintain their trust in divine guidance through the country’s tumultuous times.

According to Burkina Information Agency, the current adversities faced by Burkina Faso call for a renewed faith in God’s providential care. He reminded the faithful that, despite the prevalence of suffering, the Christian narrative affirms that God remains present and active, ultimately ensuring that good prevails over evil. The Easter celebration, symbolizing Christ’s victory over death, was highlighted as a testament to this enduring hope and divine fidelity.

Furthermore, the Archbishop emphasized the role of Christians as proponents of Christ’s teachings, advocating for a life aligned with the values of truth, light, and love. By embodying these virtues, the faithful are called to be beacons of hope and agents of peace within their communities, reflecting the transformative power of the Easter message.

Federation of Islamic Associations in Burkina Faso Calls for Increased Prayers During Ramadan’s Final Days

OUAGADOUGOU — In a heartfelt appeal to the Muslim community, the Federation of Islamic Associations of Burkina (FAIB) has called for intensified prayers for peace and security throughout Burkina Faso during the concluding ten days of Ramadan.

According to Burkina Information Agency, the FAIB shared a message on its Facebook page encouraging the faithful to dedicate the last decade of Ramadan to seeking divine intervention for the nation’s well-being. The organization highlighted the significance of this period, urging believers to engage in earnest supplication and worship.

“In this last decade, we wish you all nights of full adoration. Let us multiply the invocations for peace and security in our dear country,” the FAIB stated, invoking the spiritual weight of the last ten days, which include Laylat al-Qadr or the night of Destiny. This night, described in the Quran as ‘better than a thousand months,’ represents a time when prayers are believed to be particularly potent.

The FAIB’s message underscored the profound religious significance of this period, noting that it is a time when the faithful are called upon to deepen their spiritual practices and plead for tranquility and safety in Burkina Faso.