Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 157 | Wed 02 May 2012
AFRICA: CHRISTIANS TARGETED FROM EAST TO WEST
By Elizabeth Kendal
Security is deteriorating rapidly for Christians along Africa's notorious ethnic-religious fault-line: roughly between the 5 to 10 degree north parallels. Genocidal Islamic jihad has displaced Christians in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Mali and Ivory Coast. Multitudes of predominantly Christian, ethnically southern Ivorian refugees feel forgotten. Displaced during the French-backed Islamic coup of April 2011, they remain desperate and vulnerable, unable to return home because their homes and farms have been occupied by pro-Ouattara supporters who are being protected by armed 'dozos' from the north. Appointed by Ouattara's Republican Forces (former 'rebels') to crack down on crime, 'dozos' are a 'brotherhood of initiated traditional hunters renowned for their mystical powers'.
Further to this, terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, the Government of Sudan, Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria and eastern Mali and Ansar Dine in Northern Mali are targeting Christians continually. These groups are seeking at the very least the subjugation of Christians and in some places their total eradication. The jihadists receive support from Islamist governments and from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which gets most of its funds from trafficking drugs, weapons and human beings.
TERROR IN KENYA
After Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia to fight al-Shabaab in October 2011 the Somalia-based jihadists threatened Kenya with 'a long, protracted war'. On Saturday evening 31 March militants believed to be from al-Shabaab hurled explosives into a prayer meeting in the coastal town of Mtwapa, just 16km from Mombasa. A woman and a nine-year-old boy were killed while around 30 others were wounded. On Sunday 29 April some 50 believers were worshipping in God's House of Miracles International Church in Nairobi when a militant simply walked in and hurled a bomb at the altar. 'I heard a blast and then around me everyone was covered in blood,' said Steven Mulinge, the church pianist. One person was killed while 15 others were treated in hospital for shrapnel wounds. Four victims with critical injuries have been transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital.
TERROR IN NIGERIA
On Sunday 29 April believers worshipping at Bayero University in the northern city of Kano were targeted by militants from Boko Haram. The jihadists attacked the open-air service outside the faculty of medicine, throwing explosive devices amongst the worshippers then chasing and shooting believers as they fled. They also attacked a worship service being held in the sporting complex, again throwing explosive devices amongst the believers who were then chased and gunned down as they fled. Twenty-one people were killed and more than 20 were treated in hospital for gunshot wounds. In an almost simultaneous attack, six Boko Haram gunmen burst into a Church of Christ in Nigeria chapel the northeast city of Maiduguri, spraying bullets throughout the sanctuary. Whilst the worshippers escaped with wounds but no fatalities, the pastor and three others who were preparing to serve communion were found dead in the sanctuary.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --
* cut the lines of support that keep these jihadists armed and paid; may he sever relationships, smash networks, destroy trade and smuggling routes and remove key players so that the jihadists will be starved of resources. May the 'horns' [strength] of the wicked be cut off, and the 'horns' [strength] of the righteous be lifted up. (Psalm 75:10)
' . . . in the name of the LORD I cut them off!' (Psalm 118:10 ESV.)
* intervene for the sake of his imperilled people to infuse wisdom, courage and commitment into fearful, reluctant, equivocating and short-sighted African governments. 'The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.' (Proverbs 21:1 ESV)
* be a shield and provider for his displaced and frightened people; may he heal their wounds, shelter and protect them, provide their every need and increase their faith. (Psalm 18)
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
CHRISTIANS TARGETED FROM EAST TO WEST IN AFRICA
Islamic jihad has displaced Christians in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Mali and Ivory Coast. Terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, the Government of Sudan, Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria and eastern Mali and Ansar Dine in Northern Mali are targeting Christians continually. On Sunday 29 April some 25 Christians were killed and dozens wounded when jihadists launched terror attacks against church worship services in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Kano and Maiduguri, Northern Nigeria. The two groups involved -- al-Shabaab and Boko Haram -- both receive support from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), as does Ansar Dine, the group that has driven Christians from northern Mali. AQIM gets most of its funds from trafficking drugs, weapons and human beings. Please pray for these Churches.