Displaying items by tag: Africa
In Cabo Delgado, most Internally Displaced People (IDPs) have lost access to their basic livelihoods due to years of conflict. Neighbouring areas that were previously classified as ‘stressed’ now face ‘crisis’ situations due to a rapid increase in IDPs. Conflict and even more IDPs has made many areas inaccessible for those distributing humanitarian aid. They are in ‘crisis’ situations. Some of the most affected families who have lost their homes and livelihoods face difficulty escaping to safe areas, and will face even worsening famine. Families in drought areas are consuming wild foods due to low income and exhausted food stocks. Unfortunately, poorly distributed rainfall through December limited planting in southern Mozambique. Please pray that food security will begin to improve in April 2021 with the start of the harvest. Pray also for the poorest households recovering from Cyclone Idai but contending with worsening economic shock due to Covid-19.
A Christmas Eve attack by Boko Haram which left at least eleven dead and two church buildings razed to the ground prompted Nigerian bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri to issue a rallying cry, insisting Islamist violence is doomed to failure. Bishop Oliver said he was undaunted by the attack in Pemi, near Chibok, where over 270 mostly Christian schoolgirls had been kidnapped in 2016. Speaking after the attack, in which a priest was abducted, he said, ‘One thing that Boko Haram will never take from us is our faith. We will never allow our faith to be taken away by any evil. Our faith is becoming stronger and stronger. 100 people were baptised in one parish on Christmas Eve. People are so committed.’ The Bishop said that Boko Haram’s actions were in fact strengthening the Christian faith; his diocese has more Catholics than when there was no Boko Haram crisis.
Bullets fly overhead as schoolboys scream out in fear. Chaos. Shrapnel. Hundreds go missing. This was the scene last week when Boko Haram militants stormed a high-school in Katsina, northern Nigeria, to abduct hundreds of students, 400 remain missing. It is a horror story reminiscent of the 2014 kidnapping of schoolgirls that prompted the viral #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The attack came just weeks after the brutal slaying of Nigerian farmers in Borno state by militants on motorcycles (thirty were beheaded). Nigeria's population is 50% Christian and 50% Muslim with groups like Boko Haram subscribing to a warped interpretation of Islam that justifies murder of Christians. In practice, both Christians and Muslims have been targeted in recent years. Pray for the government to improve its standards and protect vulnerable communities. Pray the authorities will also terminate the Special Anti-Robbery Squad’s contract to end the torture and extrajudicial killings that it has engaged in. STOP PRESS: it has now been reported that all the schoolboys have been released by Boko Haram. See
Christians in Egypt are not safe, despite the authorities’ claims to the contrary. The following tragedy shows the dangers Christians must navigate in Egyptian society, and their disbelief that help will come in the form of justice. Persecution is more than violence; it is also about how the authorities respond to these injustices. On 10 December three Muslim brothers attacked Coptic Christians living in Alexandria, murdering one man and significantly injuring two with knives and clubs, then damaging three Christian shops. The brothers have a history of thuggery and escalated harassment of Christian shop owners. They were arrested, but local Christians fear that they will be declared mentally unstable and not fully punished, as has happened before in similar cases. Violence against Christians is commonplace in Egypt, but this happened in Alexandria, where sectarian tensions are normally subtler than in Upper Egypt.
Between 20 November and 3 December, at least thirty Christians were killed, and ten young women and girls raped, in attacks on five villages by the extremist Allied Democratic Forces. Locals described scenes of terrified Christians flooding into the streets as the jihadists surrounded churches, armed with guns, clubs, machetes, swords and axes. Fourteen Christians with severe wounds are in hospital in a critical condition, and at least fifteen people were abducted. A survivor, hiding in the latrine, watched through a vent as his wife and three children were murdered. A pastor In Mayitike said the militants tried to force villagers to convert to Islam before killing them. When his family refused to convert, they shot his wife in the head and cut their four children into pieces with a sword.
Ashenafi Hailu was racing on his motorcycle to the aid of a friend trapped by the Ethiopian government’s military offensive in the Tigray region when a group of men on foot confronted him, identifying themselves as militia members of a rival ethnic group. They dragged him by a noose to save bullets. As the noose tightened around his neck he thought he would die. He passed out and awoke alone near a pile of bodies. His motorcycle and cash were gone. Nearly 50,000 Ethiopians fleeing Tigray have sought safety in Sudan, in what the UN called the worst exodus of refugees Ethiopia has seen in over two decades. Reports of looting, ethnic antagonism, and killings are at odds with Ethiopia’s prime minister saying, ‘No civilians are being hurt.’ Worrying prospects are that the fighting is degenerating into a guerrilla war that could unravel both Ethiopia’s national fabric and the stability of the entire Horn of Africa region, including Eritrea and Sudan.
Gary Smith, one of the evangelists at a two-week outreach, writes, ‘Tonight was the last night of the crusade in Singida. The last two weeks have been absolutely incredible with thousands of salvations, miracles, and people filled with the Holy Spirit. I am rejoicing in all that the Lord has done. I’ve heard testimonies from bishops and pastors who are overjoyed as many new believers joined their church this morning. This is worth every dollar spent and every day away from family, to see people saved and planted into the local church. It’s not just making converts but to make mighty disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!’
An attack on 28 November by Boko Haram terrorists on farmers working in rice fields in northeastern Nigeria killed at least 110 people. ‘The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. Many women are also believed to have been kidnapped. Security forces and volunteer vigilante groups are searching to find people still missing. Locals say they recovered 43 bodies in villages near Maiduguri, the capital of the restive Borno state, which has been plagued by an armed campaign for over ten years. A local resident said, ‘Nobody knows the exact number of people killed. We can’t account for farmers who were there; we don’t know if they are hiding in the bush or if they were kidnapped.’ Pray for God to comfort the mourners. See also
A married Christian couple, detained for being ‘apostates and evangelists spreading Christianity’ in Muslim-majority Somaliland, have been suddenly released and deported to Somalia, allowing them to subsequently travel with their youngest child to a safe country and be reunited with their two elder sons. The couple were arrested by police on 21 September when Christian material was found at their home. They made several appearances in the Somaliland regional court. Then European representatives raised the case with the ministry of religious affairs and the couple were unexpectedly released and ordered to be deported on 1 November.
A rocket attack by Tigray forces on Eritrea marks a major escalation of violence as thousands of Ethiopian refugees continue to pour into Sudan. The UN refugee agency says that over 20,000 people have crossed into Sudan from Ethiopia’s northern region, where federal government troops are battling forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party of the regional government. The conflict, which has spilled over Ethiopia’s borders, threatens to destabilise the wider Horn of Africa region. The latest two-week war has killed hundreds of people. Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed in 2018 to end decades of hostilities, resulting in Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed winning the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. However, there is still a deep-seated animosity between Eritrea and the battle-hardened TPLF over the border conflict.