Displaying items by tag: church attack
For the second time since Easter, a church in Burkina Faso has suffered a terrorist attack during a Sunday services. This target was a Catholic church in Dablo, where the priest and five worshippers were killed. This prompted a series of déjà-vu headlines among global media outlets as the death toll matches last month’s attack on an Assemblies of God church. The assailants again arrived on motorcycles and interrupted morning Mass, shooting the congregation as they tried to flee. They ordered the women and children to clear the scene before executing six men, including the priest, and setting fire to the church The martyred priest, 34-year-old Simeon Yampa, was described as ‘a humble person, obedient and full of love’. The nation has suffered hundreds of attacks by jihadists in recent years, but these two were the first on houses of Christian worship.
Over a dozen Christians, including children, were slaughtered by Fulani militants following an infant dedication service in the Nigerian state of Nasarawa.
Morning Star News reports that the attack took place on Palm Sunday as Christians in the predominantly Christian community gathered to eat after the child was dedicated that morning at Ruhaniya Baptist Church in the village.
Fulani militants, who have increasingly targeted Christians, stormed the party and opened fire indiscriminately, killing 17. The militants claimed the life of the baby’s mother, Safaratu John Kabiru Ali, along with several others, some of whom were children as young as 10. The baby’s father, John Kabiru Ali, is currently in critical condition after suffering gunshot wounds.
A local resident told Morning Star News that among those killed were “10 members of the Ruhaniya Baptist Church, five members of Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ, one member of the Evangelical Church Winning All, and a musician playing for guests.”
Samuel Meshi, chairman of the Akwanga Local Government Council, told the outlet the group of Christians did nothing to provoke the horrific attack.
“They just started shooting sporadically on a community that was just having a feast of the dedication of a child after a church service earlier in the day on Sunday (April 14) at a Baptist church in the area,” Meshi said.
“The killings occurred in the evening of that day. Unfortunately, these persons were killed in cold blood for just no reason,” he noted.
Pastor Samson Gamu Yare, community leader of the Mada ethnic group in Nasarawa state, described the killings as “barbaric” and called on the federal government to urgently take measures toward curtailing the menace of extremist herdsmen attacks on his people.
Nigerian outlet The Punch notes that the governor of Narasawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, has demanded that the perpetrators be apprehended immediately.
“This is something we are going to take seriously. We are going to have a Security Council meeting and I have already directed security operatives to ensure that they fish out these people and bring them to book,” Al-Makura said, according to Channels TV.
Major General Adeyemi Yekini subsequently announced his strategy to track and arrest those involved in the attack.
“I have directed my troops to move to Akwanga and join other security forces to track down the perpetrators of this crisis; let us apprehend them so that justice can be done,” he said.
Nigeria ranks as the 12th worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List.
The Fulani herdsmen are an ethnic group of over 20 million in West and Central Africa. Herders have been known to travel hundreds of miles while carrying weapons to protect their livestock. While they have clashed with indigenous tribes and Christians for centuries, only a small subset are extremists and engage in attacks, according to the Global Terror Index.
However, Open Doors notes that the clashes have intensified in recent years and led to the destruction of houses and churches, as well as the seizure of land and properties belonging to Christian owners. Open Doors concluded that the Nigerian government has historically failed to protect Christians, particularly women and children, from Fulani extremist violence.
Last Easter, Fulani herdsmen carried out an attack on morning Mass at Saint Ignatius Catholic Church in Mbalom, central Nigeria, leaving two priests and at least 17 parishioners dead. About 30 attackers also ransacked a burial ceremony and burned dozens of homes in the community, according to reports.
On March 4, Fulani militants in the Benue state reportedly attacked three villages, killing 23 people with bullets and machetes, according to International Christian Concern.
Also in March, 52 people were killed, dozens injured and around 143 homes were destroyed in attacks on the villages of Inkirimi, Dogonnoma and Ungwan Gora in the Maro district of the Kajuru Local Government Area.
Pray for the bereaved that they will know the comfort and presence of God in their grief.
Pray that the extremists will be brought to justice.
Pray for the Government of Nigeria to have greater success with resolving this longstanding issue.
Sri Lankan Christians fear more attacks are coming as the nation is still in mourning over the horrific bombings on Easter Sunday.
At least 253 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded. Thursday the number was decreased from 350 to 253, officials explaining that they initially thought many people had been killed due to unidentifiable body parts.
In two major cities in Sri Lanka it's very quiet as residents and office workers are staying indoors and shops are closed. There's concern that more attacks are on the way with the US embassy warning that terrorists could target places of worship again this weekend.
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe issued a stark warning Thursday saying, "Well, they've rounded up a lot of suspects but there are still some of the active people on the run. They may be having explosives with them, or they may have hidden the explosives so we have to find the suspects as well as the explosives. So that's still on."
Meanwhile, the military is actively seeking some 140 people suspected of having links to the Islamic State.
Last Sunday's bombings were one of the world's worst terrorist attacks since 9/11, but there's still a sense that Americans don't grasp that Christians around the world are so targeted. In fact, the New York Times ran an opinion piece this week asking "Are Christians Privileged or Persecuted?"
Doug Bandow, an analyst at the CATO Institute answers that question writing, "Christianity's dominant role in American culture has obscured the fact that it is the most persecuted faith globally."
And Emma Green, an Atlantic writer, says that Easter has become an "anniversary of death, "noting Easter attacks on Christians in Egypt and Nigeria in the last several years.
Religious freedom advocate Dr. Daniel Mark tells CBN New the attacks show how believers in the West need to be more aware of global persecution of Christians.
"I think Christians should -- Christians who of course are extremely charitable and extremely caring to people worldwide -- could even so take a lesson in this and make sure that on the top of their mind at all times is the persecuted church around the world which makes us appreciate what we have here, too, and makes us more mindful of what we need to protect what we have here."
Please take time to intercede for Sri Lanka using these guidelines supplied by Leslie Keegel, one of our senior leaders, who lives in the country:
- The death toll as of now is at 253 persons and people on the injured list is at 359. Attacks and attempts of attack are still in the air.
- Please pray for the public, fear, anxiety and hopelessness is high.
- For the government and rulers to be united and intentionally decisive to overcome enemy factions.
- It is discovered that ISIS is behind these attacks. They are looking for more opportunities to strike churches and Christians.
- Shops, offices, schools are closed, people who are dependent on daily wages are not finding work. Therefore, starvation and frustration is creeping in.
- Public demonstrations against the government are threatened.
- It is learnt that our decision makers do not see eye to eye with each other, therefore important decisions are not being made.
- There is leadership failure therefore there is economic, social and political instability in our nation.
- The forces of darkness in high places are raging against the Church and her leadership.
- The Church must receive strength and comfort to battle against the powers of darkness.
- Please pray that the support lines would be cut and resources would stop flowing to the ISIS leadership here.
- Pray for the Church to be United in Tragedy: The Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches stand together in solidarity with the Catholic Church during this time of tragedy and share their pain and sorrow as the whole Body of Christ is suffering.
- Pray that this unity will be a witness to the nation.
- Pray that the funeral services will be a powerful witness of forgiveness and reconciliation and also of the living Hope to other religious communities.
- Pray for the opportunity for the Church to reach out to the Moslem community as well.
- Pray for the Grieving Families: Sri Lanka had been through 30 year of war and seen immense suffering and bloodshed and also natural tragedies like the Tsunami. The Church has been both victims and instruments of God’s grace to bring relief and comfort to the suffering. We are working together to help with families with the funerals and provide ongoing emotional and other support.
- Pray for Christians to have courage and hope: This attack specifically targeting Christians and have resulted in the largest number of martyrs of the recent history. The Sri Lankan Church wants to honor their sacrifice and want the families to know that they have not died in vain.
- The Church must be strong in opposition and suffering because we believe that Sri Lanka is destined for Revival.
Thank you very much for your partnership in prayer.