Displaying items by tag: violence

Friday, 12 August 2022 10:24

Haiti: war zone

Haitians are surrounded by gang warfare. One of the largest gangs is 400 Mawozo who kill police officers. Outmanned and outgunned by well-armed gangs, police are demanding that the government back them up with better support and more equipment. The G9 is an alliance of nine gangs led by an ex-policeman. They control coastal ports and oil terminals, seize goods lorries, and extort money from businesses. An estimated 60% of Haiti’s capital is classed as ‘lawless’ by human rights groups. The city, similar in size to Los Angeles, is paralysed by dozens of gangs battling for power and territories. Once buzzing with nightlife, it now looks and feels like a ghost town. Shops are shut and residents have vacated homes, fearing of being caught in the crossfire. On city outskirts, huge swathes of the community are living from hand to mouth, without electricity or access to clean water.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 12 August 2022 10:19

Nigeria: a dangerous society

In 2017 Fulani militants seized a Christian mother’s land and burned down her house, forcing her and her family to move closer to the city for safety. Loss of their farmland forced the family of seven into deep poverty, living and sleeping in one room. On 8 August Fulani militants attempted to rape her 16-year-old daughter while they were out walking. A missionary visited the family after the attack and the mother said, ‘They told us to stop, then they beat me as I tried to stop them from raping my daughter.’ She showed the deep gash in her arm she received from the militants, and said God used her to protect her daughter from public disgrace and shame, which is how victims of rape are viewed in their society. ‘I have nothing to say but thank God. Please tell Christians to pray for us. Pray that we will return to our village one day. Life is too expensive in the city.’

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 26 May 2022 23:37

Violence at football matches

On 11 June the English football team will play a match against Italy with no fans watching. There have also been a number of recent incidents where pitches have been invaded. Despite the general jubilation of such scenes, they also saw players and coaches intimidated or even attacked. Police data in January showed that arrests at football matches across the top five English leagues are at their highest levels for years. Gareth Southgate, the England manager, says it is an 'embarrassment' that England are playing a home game behind closed doors, as a consequence of the chaos at Wembley before the Euro 2020 final against the same country. He added,' 'Normally when you watch those things happening abroad, we're all grandstanding about how it’s someone else's problem and how this country should be dealt with and now it’s us. That’s not good behaviour for the reputation of our country.' The FA said it was 'reviewing our regulations to help stamp out this behaviour and to ensure the safety of everyone inside a stadium'.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 24 February 2022 20:54

Sudan: pro-democracy protests continue

Sudan has seen weeks of large pro-democracy protests against a military coup that ousted the civilian transitional government last October. 81 people have been killed in rallies, many dying from gunshot wounds. The security forces repeatedly deny using live ammunition against peaceful protesters. Sudan’s women, who played a major role during the 2019 uprising, are again at the forefront of the demonstrations. Some have paid a heavy price for demanding civilian rule. Protesters and politicians have been abducted from their homes, offices, and even hospitals. In most cases, authorities deny the arrests or slam trumped-up charges against detainees. Noon Kashkosh, from the Democratic Coalition for Lawyers, is providing legal assistance to families of the detained. He said security forces are trying to discourage protests by pressing outlandish charges against young demonstrators. But the wave of detentions has fuelled the resolve of protesters to stay on the streets rather than back down.

Published in Worldwide

On 28 January a contact in Nigeria discovered over 500 bullet shells used in the killing of eighteen Christians in Ancha village, located about two hours from the capital of Plateau State. Villagers said the attackers were Fulani militants dressed in black while others wore the uniform of the Nigerian army. Thirty soldiers with AK47s were stationed in a classroom in the community when the attack happened. The converted classroom served as a barracks for the soldiers. Despite being stationed inside the village, the soldiers did not defend it against the invading militants. Instead, they stood by and watched as houses were burnt, cars and food were destroyed, and villagers were killed. During the attack, the soldiers protected only their two vehicles and the converted classroom. This attack is just the latest in a years-long pattern of militant violence committed against Ancha and neighbouring villages. Often bullet shells found belong to the army.

Published in Worldwide

A disturbing but common feature of modern warfare is incidents of violence against hospitals, patients and healthcare workers. A recent report cites 806 incidents of violence against or obstruction of healthcare in 43 countries and territories in ongoing wars and violent conflicts in 2020, ranging from the bombing of hospitals in Yemen to the abduction of doctors in Nigeria. At least 185 health workers were killed and 117 kidnapped. Attacks continue with impunity, as several states fail to act on global commitments and frameworks intended to safeguard medical professionals saving lives. The nature of conflict now includes more non-state armed groups, but they all attack healthcare. Pray for health workers alone, with very little support, suffering trauma from violence.

Published in Worldwide

Security forces in Uganda have shot dead a Muslim cleric, Sheikh Muhammad Abas Kirevu, accused of working with an armed group linked to suicide bombings in Kampala. He had recruited for cells run by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) - rebels who have pledged allegiance to IS. On 16 November four people were killed and over thirty injured by attackers on motorbikes who blew themselves up in the city: IS claimed responsibility, but officials have blamed the ADF. Twenty-one people have been arrested since the attack, in what police have described as the dismantling of ADF terrorist cells in Kampala and across the country. A police spokesperson said 13 suspects, including several children, had been intercepted while trying to cross the border into DR Congo. Also, on 17 November four suspected ADF operatives were killed near the border.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 28 October 2021 21:14

Burma (Myanmar): ‘we work with tears’

A third Covid wave hit Myanmar amid ongoing violence from February’s coup. A ministry leader said, ‘This morning the wife of one of our workers cried on the phone, “My husband is struggling for breath. We need oxygen.” I asked our driver to go as soon as possible for a two-hour drive. The military frequently stop vehicles and confiscate oxygen tanks and medicines. Local missionaries drive for eight to ten hours to provide life-saving medical equipment and food aid. These days are mourning and weeping days. We are fighting the seen enemy, the military coup, and the unseen enemy, Covid. Many die by guns, bombs and Covid. Much violence is random. A pastor’s wife was killed in their house, a woman was killed while riding a motorbike toward the hospital. Since we have no government, no hospital, no government doctors and nurses, we search for private doctors and nurses that are available.’

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 15 July 2021 23:19

South Africa: looting and civil unrest

The following is from a report made with the help of seven pastors and a bishop in South Africa: ‘Please pray against a spirit of violence and disruption threatening the country’s peace and stability following the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma last week. The root of the ongoing situation is criminal rather than political. KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng provinces are hotspots of riots and looting sprees, and it may spread to other regions. 45 people have died and 757+ arrested in 5 days. Forces fire rubber bullets and live ammunition to deter Johannesburg looters, Durban has unrest and shootings. Shops, businesses, schools and farms are looted and destroyed. Road traffic is attacked and they are on the crest of a third Covid wave. It is believed that this is a backlash to a lot of evil and corruption being exposed over the past year as well as Kingdom breakthroughs. Pray for South Africa to step into her prophetic destiny, with peace on every street.’

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 18 June 2021 05:26

Myanmar – ‘Rapidly deteriorating’

As of the 8th June, the United Nations said an estimated 100,000 people had been displaced in Myanmar's Kayah State by recent violence, including "indiscriminate attacks by security forces" against civilian areas. "The United Nations in Myanmar is concerned about the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian situation," the United Nations in Myanmar said in a statement.

The G7 nations issued a communique that "condemn[s] in the strongest terms the military coup in Myanmar, and the violence committed by Myanmar's security forces." It goes on to say that the G-7 nations "pledge our support to those advocating peacefully for a stable and inclusive democracy." It also says the G-7 governments will pursue "additional measures should they prove necessary," hinting at the possibility of additional sanctions.

However, the reality of life in Myanmar remains awful for many.  Thousands are in flight across Myanmar because of armed strikes and indiscriminate attacks and arrests conducted by the Tatmadaw, the armed forces of Myanmar, deepening a humanitarian crisis emerging in Kayah and Chin states. According to a community leader from Loikaw, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals from the Myanmar military, the Tatmadaw “see the civilians as their enemies.”

“No one is safe from their attacks. Anyone they are suspicious of, anyone they think are against them, they will arrest, they will torture and some of them are even shot to death. It happens here every day, so people are hiding.” He said so far 50 have been killed in Kayah State, and many have been wounded. “Even peaceful protesters have been shot.”

The source in Loikaw said the Tatmadaw have attacked churches and homes with drone and air strikes, mortar and small arms fire, killing noncombatants and driving thousands into the nearby forests and mountains. “The church is under attack” in Kayah State, he said, both the “People of God” and church buildings.

Four churches of the Diocese of Loikaw have come under heavy weapons fire since mid-May. Now most church functions throughout the state have been shut down completely and many parishes are “totally abandoned.”

The Rev'd Susan McIvor has had links with the Church in Upper Myanmar since 1998 and visited many times. She has written this prayer for the current situation:

Loving God,

We pray for the people of Myanmar in their struggle for justice, peace and freedom.

We stand in solidarity with all who are calling for the restoration of democracy and an end to the violence perpetrated by the Myanmar military against protestors and civilians.

We hold in our hearts those towns, cities and communities where the loss of life is great, and where it is no longer safe for people to go about their ordinary tasks.   We pray for those who have fled into the forests or neighbouring countries fearing for their lives or their loved ones.

We pray in solidarity with the minority Christian population in Myanmar.  We pray for all churches as they support their communities.

We pray for the Methodist Church in Upper Myanmar, its colleges, healthcare and social development projects, grieving alongside our brothers and sisters as they count the loss of loved ones.  We pray that, in the face of atrocity, people will be strengthened by their faith and the knowledge of Your goodness and love. 

We pray for ourselves. 

When we feel powerless to change things show us how through our actions and our prayers Your love is made known.   

When we reach out to support people in Myanmar, give us words of wisdom, compassion and hope.

And when our hearts are breaking with despair for those we know in Myanmar, fill us with Your peace. 

AMEN

More / Sources: The United Nations, Americamagazine.org, Methodists UK

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