Displaying items by tag: IS
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.
We prayed recently for the capture of terrorists in Indonesiawho killed four Christians. See ‘When you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks’ (Qur’an 47:4). Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation, has long wrestled with extremist militancy and terror attacks, while Central Sulawesi has seen intermittent violence between Christians and Muslims for decades. After President Suharto’s fall in 1998, Indonesian Muslims who had travelled to join the fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s returned to Indonesia and formed various militant groups and launched multiple terrorist attacks. IS has capitalised on Indonesia’s Islamist networks to boost its recruitment efforts and carry out attacks in the country. IS propaganda is singling out Indonesian Muslims for recruitment.
Christians are increasingly being persecuted violently: by brutal IS in the Middle East, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Hindu extremists in India. Release International issued a report on persecution trends in 2021. It is a wake-up call to take our prayers for our persecuted family to new levels. Nigerian attacks are driven by Islamist ideologies to destroy ‘the infidels’. 300 Christians remain detained without trial inside Eritrea. The Chinese government is increasing its ‘clean-cup’ of anything that does not advance the communist agenda. North Korea’s policy against Christians is the longest, harshest persecution in recorded history. Iranians constantly fear they are under surveillance when they meet secretly. The pressure has led to an exodus from Iran that will continue in 2021. Egyptian Christian converts from a Muslim background will continue to pay a high price for their faith and will be expelled from their families, divorced, and lose their employment.
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.
IS has taken a firm grip on territory in Mozambique, far from its original strongholds in Syria. Even though it is losing territory in most other places, it has killed and kidnapped thousands in the country since 2017. Sphiwe, a Christian worker with Trans World Radio, says, ‘They behead people, they attack homes and villages. People live in fear. It causes displacement, as people move away to protect themselves.’ Many fear the next attack so much they avoid working in the fields. Christian broadcasting continues in troubled areas and also provides support for refugees. Sphiwe says, ‘It is emotionally draining. Sometimes they are adopted or taken in with other families, so that one family may end up having fifty people within one home because they are trying to help out.’ Pray for those fleeing from trauma in Mozambique to find hope and life in Jesus.
Christians in Iraq remain shaken by the twin suicide bombing in Baghdad. It was the first mass-casualty attack since 2018, killing at least 32 people and wounding more than a hundred. IS took credit, stirring fears of a resurgence. Samuel of Redemptive Stories says believers are shaken, but they’re pressing on to make Christ known. ‘I had the privilege to talk to a pastor on the very night of the suicide attacks and he said, ‘Our spiritual condition as a church is well; our physical condition is well; but our emotional state, as a church, is sad. The church had seen three years of almost peaceable activity. Now suddenly, out of nowhere, there are these significant attacks. The hope of Christ shines brightly amid such tumult.’
On 27 November, around 7:30 am, Nei was having breakfast with her husband, Yasa, and saw about ten unknown people visiting Naka, at a nearby house. Soon after that terrorists Ali Kalora and Jaka Ramadan entered the house and took Yasa and Nei outside. Yasa was tied up, stabbed in the back, then decapitated with a machete. One of the terrorists, near Yasa’s house, gave a signal to villagers to flee, allowing several witnesses and children to escape. Naka and his son Pedi were set on fire, as was their house and eight other homes. Terrorists also torched the Salvation Army house of worship. Another Christian, Pinu, was stabbed to death. Approximately 750 people fled their homes after the attack. Police suspect militants with allegiance to IS carried out the violence, as the leader of the outlawed group was seen at the scene of the crime.
Suspected IS-aligned militants herded dozens of fleeing victims to soccer fields to execute them and abducted others, in weekend raids in Mozambique. The commander of the police force said extremists carried out attacks on several villages in the Cabo Delgado province. They beheaded over fifty people, abducted women and children and burnt down homes. Then they went after those who had fled to the woods and continued their macabre actions. The BBC, and privately-owned Pinnacle News, reported that villagers in Mautide who tried to run were taken to the field and chopped to pieces. Police learned of the massacre committed by the insurgents through reports of people who found corpses in the woods The oil-rich Cabo Delgado province has seen a rise of terror attacks since 2017 by ASWJ militants who have officially pledged allegiance to IS Central Africa Province.
A 20-year-old gunman, Kujtim Fejzulai, previously convicted of trying to travel to Syria to join IS, was killed by police after he had gone on a shooting spree, killing four different people at different locations in Vienna. 23 people including a policeman were wounded; three of them are still in a critical condition. The victims were in an area near the central synagogue, full of people in bars and restaurants. Several arrests were made during searches. The IS group claimed responsibility, but there is no evidence of any accomplice. Fejzulai had been freed from prison in December 2019 after completing a de-radicalisation programme.
The Centre for Global Policy (CGP) has called on European governments to intervene urgently on behalf of 750 children of EU member states citizenship who are held in IS detention camps in Syria. CGP’s latest report said that urgent intervention and support was needed. The report, entitled ‘The children of IS detainees - Europe's dilemma’, was based on research that focused on two camps in northeast Syria where 70,000 women and children are being detained. At least 12,000 of the detainees are foreign nationals. While public opinion in EU member states is strongly opposed to repatriating IS members and affiliates, the report emphasised, ‘Leaving them in these camps will not keep anyone safe’.