Displaying items by tag: violence

Friday, 11 June 2021 09:19

Burkina Faso: militants kill 160

Gunmen killed over 160 people in Solhan village, still reeling from a coup and instability. It was the worst attack on civilians in years. Heavily armed militants executed members of a local defense force, killed civilians, destroyed houses, and burned the local market to the ground. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Villagers who fled are returning to bury the dead and clear charred sites that used to be homes. The country declared three days of national mourning. Government officials, blaming the attack on ‘barbaric’ jihadists linked to al-Qaeda and IS, vowed to ‘neutralise the terrorists’ responsible. Al-Qaeda and IS fighters move regularly between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. The attack is consistent with other militant assaults on villages. Children and elderly are often burnt in their houses because they can’t escape.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 03 June 2021 21:09

Bank Holiday knife crime

Six people, including a 13- and a 14-year-old, were arrested for stabbing to death a 14-year-old boy in Birmingham. The victim was chased towards the nearby McDonald's by youths who fled from the scene after he collapsed. In London’s Hyde Park a 17 year old was chased by a group of males armed with large knives. He fell and was kicked and stabbed; one onlooker screamed ‘He bored him’ (street slang for stabbing. In South London a 23-year-old man is fighting for his life after being stabbed in the face. In north London a flowerstall man in his 50s was stabbed to death in a brutal daylight attack. Pray for more resources to be provided for teachers, social workers, and youth workers to help children and youths explore themes around knife crime and educate them to make better choices.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 20 May 2021 21:52

Football and religious affiliation

Many more arrests will follow after Rangers supporters shouted anti-Catholic slogans and songs and damaged property in Glasgow. Violent clashes led to five police officers being injured and thirty rioters arrested. Thousands of fans defied Covid-19 warnings against large gatherings and massed in George Square to celebrate Rangers winning their first Scottish Premiership championship since 2011. Images later showed George Square strewn with hundreds of broken bottles, plastic bags, and spent flares after flag-draped fans attacked each other and threw dangerous missiles at lines of riot gear-clad police officers. Nicola Sturgeon described the scenes as disgraceful: she was ‘angry on behalf of every law-abiding citizen. In normal times, violence, vandalism, and the vile anti-Catholic prejudice on display would be utterly unacceptable. But mid-pandemic, in a city with cases on the rise, it is also selfish beyond belief.’

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 20 May 2021 21:24

Venezuela: thousands fleeing violence

Thousands of Venezuelans have fled to Colombia in the past month to avoid fighting. They are running away from intense armed clashes between Venezuela’s army and Colombia’s rebel groups. Refugees say they were pushed out of their homes by the military and describe human rights abuses, disappearances, and home break-ins. A prominent Colombian guerrilla fighter, Jesus Santrich, was killed in Venezuelan territory as part of the ongoing conflict. For a video of the extent of the troubles go to. Venezuela's ongoing economic and political turmoil could result in the biggest displacement of people in the world in recent years. It is an issue that has repercussions for the whole region. While many countries have acted to deter migrants, Colombia has taken a step in a radically different direction, granting nearly a million undocumented Venezuelans the right to stay for ten years.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 13 May 2021 20:16

Indonesia: Christian farmers murdered

On 11 May four Christian farmers from the remote village of Kalimago, Poso regency, were murdered by five sword-wielding attackers. The terrorists ambushed a group of farmers who were harvesting their coffee plantation. The victims were aged between 42 and 61. A fellow-farmer saw the suspects carrying firearms and sharp weapons approach the victims before he fled and informed the police, who later said the witness identified one attacker as a fugitive and a member of the IS-linked Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) terrorist group. The attack was motivated by robbery and to terrorise local residents. One of the victims was decapitated in this particularly brutal attack. In November, the same Sulawesi-based terrorist group burned down a Salvation Army church and Christian homes, and hacked four Christians to death and beheaded one. The authorities have not been able to capture the fugitives despite months of efforts.

Published in Worldwide

The army in Burkina Faso needs to contain spreading violence by al-Qaeda and IS. More than thirty men, women, and children were killed by 100 rebels burning down homes and shooting people trying to escape. Survivors are praying for peace and are very afraid. One week earlier two Spanish journalists and an Irish conservationist were killed, and a soldier went missing when an anti-poaching patrol was ambushed by rebels. Another 18 people were killed in a different village. Last year the government enlisted volunteer militiamen to help the army, but they incurred retaliation by the rebels attacking them and the communities they helped. Armed groups have driven religious and ethnic tensions between farming and herding communities in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger to boost recruitment among marginalised communities. The UN said worsening violence has led to one of the world’s most acute humanitarian crises.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 15 April 2021 22:05

Northern Ireland: church leaders plead for unity

Protestant and Catholic church leaders said the causes of the recent violence were complex and deep-rooted, and have appealed for politicians to provide a unified response to the recent ‘heart-breaking’ scenes of violence. In a joint open letter, they called on them to ‘renew their commitment to peace, reconciliation and the protection of the most vulnerable’. Almost ninety police officers have been injured in rioting in the past week. The leaders' plea is addressed to NI ministers, the British and Irish governments, and the EU. They called for the entire NI executive to approach the EU and UK government to deal with the Brexit fallout and the Irish Sea border, and for politicians to express their support for the police. Much good work on the ground has been undermined as tension has risen and confidence has plummeted.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 15 April 2021 21:40

Haiti: seven clergy held for ransom

Kidnappings for ransom have surged as gangs gain influence amid a political crisis. Seven Catholic clergy, five Haitian and two French, have been kidnapped. The five priests and two nuns were abducted in a commune northeast of Port-au-Prince, while they were on their way to the installation of a new parish priest. The kidnappers demanded $1m ransom for them. The Haitian Conference of Believers said three other people had been kidnapped at the same time. Authorities suspect an armed gang called ‘400 Mawozo’ which kidnaps for ransom. Armed gangs have increased as the nation is rocked by political unrest. Gang violence and political instability has drawn protesters onto the streets at the subhuman situation where the political leaders cling to power, but are increasingly powerless.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 08 April 2021 21:30

Northern Ireland: bombs and bricks

On 8 April the gates of Belfast's so-called peace wall were prised open and set alight, police were attacked, petrol bombs thrown and a bus burnt in another night of violence. Over the week 41 police were injured, and ten people arrested. The most recent violence saw eight more officers hurt on both sides of an interface between several hundred loyalists and nationalists throwing petrol bombs in both directions in the loyalist Shankill Road and the nationalist Springfield Road. The power-sharing executive has met to consider the situation; the escalation in disorder requires a united response. It is hard to know how ministers will work in unity when they have not been on the same page about why the violence has been happening. Also criminals are orchestrating violence by putting petrol bombs into the hands of 12-year-olds: see

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 08 April 2021 21:05

Myanmar: international action

While a Russian minister visited Myanmar for Armed Forces Day, security forces killed 114 peaceful protesters. His visit left observers wondering what Russia wanted to gain by strongly supporting the junta amid the bloodshed. But the timing was such that Russia, which never admits to anything, let alone apologise, felt the need to distance itself from Myanmar and sought to soften the damage to its image amid outrage over the deadly violence. Mr Putin’s spokesman said, ‘We are really worried by the growing number of civilian casualties. It is a source of deep concern. We are following Myanmar’s unfolding situation closely.’ The violence also challenges the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which must decide whether to stick to its principle of non-interference in members' internal affairs or not. China, which is the only nation against imposing sanctions on Myanmar, is influencing the situation for its own commercial and political advantage.

Published in Worldwide
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