Many Soninke are migrant merchants who travel throughout West Africa and other parts of the world. When the 55 in 5 initiative started in 2020, data indicated that 177,000 Soninke people lived in Burkina Faso. However, recent research by IMB missionaries indicates that while there are undoubtedly some Soninke there, the number is relatively small. There are no known Soninke villages in the country.
In neighboring Mali, some Soninke people are called Marka, and there are also Marka in Burkina Faso. It is possible that confusion over the similar name led previous researchers to classify this people group as Soninke. Missionaries have recently determined that the Marka in Burkina Faso are not Soninke.
Because the Soninke do not have a significant population in Burkina Faso, they are no longer being emphasized in the 55 in 5 initiative. We continue to pray that the small number of believers among the Soninke will grow in their faith and boldly share the gospel despite persecution.
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.” (Isaiah 12:4 NIV)