PAKISTAN 9/2/2016 (Voice of the Persecuted): Four suicide bombers were killed when they attacked a Christian neighborhood “Christian colony” in the city of Peshawar around 6am on Friday morning. According to Fides Agency, it began when Samuel Masih, a Christian and security guard at the church, was killed by the terrorists. They also reported two other Christians, employed as civilian security officers, were injured. Unconfirmed reports claim the group intended to attack military and school targets, but chose to attack the Christian Colony instead.
Contacted by Fides, Fr. Riaz, a Catholic priest and pastor for five years in Peshawar, recounts those moments:
“The four militants were stationed outside the Colony. They waited for the gate to open and allowed Samuel to get out, who had to go to work. Then they started shooting, killing Samuel and entered the colony. In the crossfire, our two civilian security guards were injured. But they gave the alarm and called for reinforcements. soldiers arrived who continued the gunfight with the terrorists. Two of them were killed by the army. Two others blew themselves up, since all four had suicide vests, destroying a house where they had taken shelter. But there were no other victims”.
“I went to the spot where the attack took place, people are afraid, we are mourning Samuel’s death. About thirty Christian families live in the colony, and among these ten are Catholic. They are simple people, most of them work as cleaners in public offices. They are people with a strong faith: we will overcome this”.
“The Taliban indiscriminately hit civilian and military targets, schools and families: they want to destroy peace and have visibility, threatening institutions. We will remain united in protecting social and religious peace. As Christians, we will do our part, praying and working peacefully, building peace in our daily lives every day”concludes Fr. Riaz.
The attack comes three weeks short of the third anniversary, September 22, of an attack by twin suicide bombers on the Christian community at the All Saints Church in Peshawar. 600 parishioners were having lunch on the front lawn of the church when two explosions occurred, leaving the church scattered with body parts. TTP Jundullah, linked to the Taliban, said it had carried out the attack on the Christian congregation, saying, “We will continue our attacks on non-Muslims on Pakistani land.” More than 100 people were killed and over 150 injured. Outside the church, one of the suicide bombers was stopped by the police and detonated his explosives there. The other detonated the bomb inside the church.
Earlier in March 2013 an entire Christian community in Lahore was burned to the ground after one of the residents was accused of blasphemy.
On March 15 2015, two blasts took place at 2 churches during Sunday service in Youhanabad, a town of Lahore, Pakistan. At least 15 people were killed and seventy were wounded in the attacks. The bombers tried to enter the churches but were stopped by the guards at the gate and blew themselves up.
This year on Easter Sunday, suicide bombers attacked a park in Lahore as Christian families gathered after church services. At least 74 died, including 29 children: the group said it had “targeted Christians celebrating Easter”.
The above accounts are only a portion of attacks against Pakistani Christians.
Please pray for the injured and the grieving family of Samuel Masih. Please remember Pakistani Christians in your prayers and pray changes will come for their security and protection. Pray for peace and their persecutors.