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PRAYER CONFERENCE CALL Event: Join in July with the Persecuted (July 29 thru July 30)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

July2016 Prayer call Event

(Voice of the Persecuted) I challenge the Christians of the world to pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters, to act on their behalf and to live out the life of Jesus in this needy world around us. Only then we will see a radical change take place in the lives of people. Only then we will see the love of Christ replace the hatred of this world. —Brother Andrew

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

James 5:16

Does prayer work? Does God really answer prayer?  Does He really answer prayer regarding the persecuted Church?

A little over a year ago a tragedy took place in Charleston, South Carolina.  A demonic crazed gunman walked into an African-American church wanting to start a race war between black and white. The young man was welcomed warmly by the people of that church holding a prayer meeting…

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Baptist Pastor Loses Hand to Muslim Fulani Herdsman in Nasarawa State, Nigeria

The Rev. Hamza Alkali at Federal Medical Centre, Keffi. (Morning Star News)

The Rev. Hamza Alkali at Federal Medical Centre, Keffi. (Morning Star News)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Two days after a slain pastor in one part of Nasarawa state, Nigeria was buried, a Muslim Fulani herder in another part of the state cut off part of the hand of another pastor working on his farm.

The Rev. Hamza Alkali, 66, had to have the rest of his hand and wrist amputated. He told Morning Star News he managed to tackle the assailant and wrest the knife away from him or he would have been killed in the attack in Sabon Gida village, near Keffi, on July 7, two days after Muslim Fulani herdsmen with machetes killed the Rev. Zakariya Joseph Kurah at his farm near Lafia, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) away.

“If God was not with me, the Fulani man could have succeeded in taking my life,” Pastor Alkali said. “God was with me, because I told the Fulani man that God who created me in His image will not give him power to kill me.”

Affiliated with the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Pastor Alkali said when he first saw the herdsman coming onto his farm he thought he was just passing through. He continued working when the Fulani came up to him without greeting and asked him to hand over his mobile phone.

“Shocked at the Fulani man’s audacity, I wanted to know from him whether he was asking for my mobile phone because he lost his somewhere, or he was ordering me to hand over my mobile phone to him. The Fulani man insisted that I should give him my mobile phone. I then responded by telling him that I left my mobile phone at home.”

The herdsman then told the pastor he would search him.

“I was baffled and wanted to know why he would want to search me,” Pastor Alkali said. “He bluntly told me that if I don’t hand over my mobile phone to him he would kill me. Then I now told him, ‘You have no right or power to kill me. The God that created me and sent me to this place will not allow you to kill me.’ I repeated these words twice to him.”

Pastor Alkali came to Nasarawa state from his native Kaduna state more than 14 years ago. The herdsman’s intent was first to take away his mobile phone to prevent him from getting help once he attacked him, he said.

“Suddenly, the Fulani man pulled out his sword and attacked me. When I saw the sword he was dangling coming towards my face, I tried to protect my face raising my hands up, and within seconds the sword cut off my left hand into two. I saw part of my cut-off hand on the ground bouncing up and down. I then realized that if in the first attempt to kill me the Fulani man cut off my hand, unless I do something to protect myself, this Fulani man would no doubt in his second attempt to kill me cut off my head.”

The pastor rushed at him, wrestled with him and held him, in spite of his severed, bleeding hand. While held on the ground the herdsman was still gripping the sword, and the pastor managed to snatch it from him. The assailant ran away.

“I was there and the blood from my cut-off hand was rushing out,” Pastor Alkali said. “I started shouting and calling on some Christians working on farms close to mine to help rescue me. They came and pursued the Fulani man. But then they could not get him, and so they returned to find ways of taking me to the hospital.”

They took him first to the police station at Sabon Gida, where he pastors a congregation of 80 people, and from there police took him to the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi.

Pastor Alkali said he has never had any conflicts with the assailant, whom he had never met before, or any other Fulani herdsman, so he was surprised that he was attacked for no apparent reason except that he was a Christian pastor.

Throughout years of doing ministry in Sabon Gida he has enjoyed good rapport with both Christians and Muslims, he said. Many Muslims visited him in the hospital, he said.

“Both the Muslim leader in community and chief imam of the mosque in the village also visited me here in this hospital,” he said. “And this is all because of the way and manner I related well with them while working as a pastor there.

A father of four, Pastor Alkali had pastored Sabon Gida Baptist Church between 1992 and 1996 and then retired, but in 2011 members of another congregation (undisclosed for security reasons) asked him to pastor their church.

He said that since Jesus Christ was persecuted, Christians must endure hardship and face any persecution head-on.

Every Christian that is passing through persecution should stand firm, as God will not abandon such a person,” he said. “Our persecutors should know that one day they will stand before God to account for what they done here on earth. So what they should do is to come closer to God. They should repent and leave the evil ways they are following.

The pastor said he and many other Christians in Nigeria are attacked for their faith.

“There are many out there who are victims of such attacks, and they are suffering,” he said. “These armed Fulani men are killing innocent people in Nigeria. The best thing that needs to be done by the Federal Government of Nigeria is that it must act to end these atrocities against Christians. These killers should be stopped.”

VOP Note: Please keep Pastor Alkali and the nation of Nigeria in your prayers.

  • Pray he will be protected from infection and recover quickly.
  • Pray he will overcome future obstacles caused by his injury.
  • Pray the community will continue to gather around his family.
  • Pray that the Fulani herdsman will remember the amazing witness of God’s protection over our brother and come to faith in Jesus.
  • Remember to pray for our brothers and sisters living in Nigeria.
  • Pray for peace and that the Gospel continues to prosper in Nigeria.

Oh God, thank you for your presence in Nigeria. In the Holy name of Jesus, we pray, Amen

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christian brothers and sisters who have suffered brutal persecution.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They are so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. Donations always desperately needed

One Dead, Several Injured in Islamist Attacks on Copts in Egypt

Christians-Egypt

(Morning Star News) – One Christian is dead, several others have been wounded and a fire gutted a church building after Muslims across Egypt waged a weekend of violence against Copts.

In Tahana El-Gabal village in Minya Governorate, on Sunday night (July 17) Fam Mary Khalaf, 27, was overpowered by a group of Muslims who stabbed him repeatedly in the chest. One of the knife stabs went directly into his heart, killing him instantly, a statement from the local parish reported.

Three others were seriously injured in the attack: Nagib Hanna, father of the Rev. Metaous, a local Coptic priest; Malak Aziz, brother of the Rev. Boutrous, another local priest; and Azza Jouma, a Christian neighbor of the three victims, was stabbed in the face.

The attack started when four Muslims began harassing Metaous’s primary school-age son as his grandfather was looking after him outside his home. The men threatened to run the boy over, witnesses told human rights activists investigating the incident. Once the stabbing began, the group of four quickly grew into a mob of more than two dozen screaming, “Stand by your Muslim brother!”

The assault was one of numerous cases of violence against Copts in Minya Governorate over the past few months, including an attack in May in which an elderly Coptic woman was stripped, beaten and paraded naked through her village streets because of a rumor, later shown to be false, that her son was having a romantic relationship with a Muslim woman.

Ishak Ibrahim, a human rights researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), said the attacks in Egypt and specifically in Minya continue because no one is being punished for committing them.

“What happened in Minya is nothing but a natural result of not enforcing the law in previous sectarian attacks against the Copts, and forcing the Copts to go through reconciliation meetings and obey illegal solutions that are demeaning,” he said.

The Tahana El-Gabal stabbing death came about a day after a mob of Muslims, enraged over a rumor that a church building was being constructed in the governorate, attacked Copts in their village. Starting shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday (July 15), groups of Muslims set on the Copts in the village of Abu Yacoub, causing minor injuries and torching five homes.

The attack lasted into the early morning hours of Saturday (July 16). Firefighters showed up several hours after the structures had been destroyed.

The bishop of Minya, identified according to tradition only by his consecrated name, Makarious, said in a press statement that the rioting mobs were in complete violation of the law and that there was no excuse for the violence.

“Nobody has the right to attack others and kill and destroy their property, no matter what,” he said.

The Abu Yacoub riot was the second such incident in 15 days to take place in Minya Governorate over a rumor that a church building was being constructed, and the third in the country in 30 days. In a surprisingly similar incident, on June 30 another mob rioted in response to a rumor of the building of a church in Kom El Loofy village in Minya Governorate. The 300-strong mob torched four Coptic-owned homes and otherwise harassed or assaulted Copts.

On June 17 in Amriya, a village south of Alexandria, local Muslims accused area Copts of building a church in a Coptic-owned construction site and began rioting. The mob assaulted Coptic men in the village and then attacked and looted several Christian-owned homes and a Coptic community center.

In the Amriya attack, police later arrested six Muslims and six Copts, including the owner of the construction site. The Muslims were released with no charges, in time to break the Ramadan day-time fast, but the Christians were charged with holding prayers without permission and building without a permit, then released the following morning.

The EIPR’s Ibrahim said the anti-church riots pose a dangerous problem for Copts, because they indicate that even if laws in Egypt change to allow them to freely construct church buildings, certain elements of Egyptian society still wouldn’t allow it.

“The government is not strong enough to protect the Copts from all these attacks,” he said.

Authorities are now trying to force Coptic communities in all the cases into what is known as a reconciliation process. Instead of criminally charging the perpetrators of Christian persecution, the government seemingly does everything it can to force victims into “Reconciliation Committees.”

Reconciliation Committees are based on traditional tribal councils, where two equal entities come together to solve a dispute. The committees are supposed to lead to equitable justice for all parties, but because Copts have significantly less power coming to the table than members of the Muslim majority, they are often victimized a second time instead of receiving justice. In some cases, Copts have been made to pay damages to attackers who destroyed their property in unprovoked incidents.

Bishop Makarious has urged all the victims to stand firm and refuse to participate in such committees because the perpetrators so often escape without punishment.

“We’re going to continue demanding the enforcement of the law and will not give up,” he said. “Every time they are set free, that is just encouraging others to do attacks in the same way, because they feel they are protected by the government.”

While mobs are burning down Coptic homes, churches are destroyed in mysterious fires. On Saturday (July 16) at 2:30 a.m., Copts rushed out into the streets of Al-Madamoud in Luxor Governorate to find flames shooting out of the roof of the Church of the Archangel Michael. An iconographer restoring the church’s religious paintings was stuck inside the building on the top floor in a room for visitors.

He had been allowed to sleep in facilities on the top floor of the church building. He was screaming for help and was about to jump, likely to his death or at least a crippling injury, but the gathered crowd was able to save him with a ladder.

When people pushed open the doors of the church building to go inside and fight the fire, they found the altar engulfed in flames and the blaze spreading everywhere. The men and women began trying to douse the flames with garden hoses and bottles of drinking water. By the time firefighters arrived two and a half hours later, the building was gutted.

The next morning, Safwat Samaan, director of human rights group Nation Without Borders, was able to visit the scene. Members of the congregation crowded into the blackened shell of the build with tears welling up in their eyes.

“It broke my heart to see old men, eyes full of tears and women wailing,” he said.

Now members of the congregation are afraid authorities will claim the fire was accidental, as officials nationwide have in so many other church building fires. Authorities claim the fires are accidental, started by unattended candles or an electrical short, even when no candles are present and electricity is shut off to the building.

That was the ruling in the fire at the Catholic Church of St. George, also located in Luxor Governorate, which caught fire under mysterious circumstances on April 20 at 3 a.m. Authorities claimed the fire was the result of either unattended candles or a short in a wire, but there were no candles, and a church attendant had turned off the main electric line to the building.

Because of the similarities between the fires at the Church of the Archangel Michael and the Church of St. George, many Copts have suspicions that a serial arsonist is targeting churches in Luxor, Samaan said.

“I wonder if this was just an accident, or if this was a planned arson, but the results will be in the hands of the firefighters and the police,” Samaan said. “I am concerned they will come to yet another all too convenient ruling.”

Nigeria: Attack on Christians: Islamic leaders should dismantle doctrine of hatred

north nigeria

In a signed statement made received and shared by Vanguard news, Chairman of NCEF, Solomon Asemota (SAN), identified doctrine of hatred as significant to  factors affecting the country.

“What the nation is witnessing today can be attributed to three immediate factors:

The doctrine of hatred that was used to indoctrinate Almajiris in the various Islamic Madrassas in the North where Muslims were deliberately taught to hate Christians and people of other faiths.

“Secondly, the concept of “sacred space” in which Islamists believe, for example, that the road leading to their mosque belongs exclusively to them. “The “sacred space” concept is applied to every area in which Islamism has traveled. The belief is that all land on earth has been given by Allah to Muslims and it is theirs by right, to stage a Jihad to retake them.

“Thirdly, the result of one Nation operating two political systems of Democracy and Sharia.

“Nigeria is witnessing a recurring decimal of violence as a result of narrow minded religious indoctrination and the onus is on Muslim leaders in the country to take steps to reverse this anomaly in the best interest of everyone. “No country can make progress and live in peace when a section of the population is consumed with hatred for other citizens.

“The National Christian Elders’ Forum wishes to emphasize, once again, that the main cause of the crisis in Nigeria is rooted in the conflict of ideology – Democracy versus Sharia in which one nation has two systems of government. It is impossible to have two national ideologies (Democracy and Sharia) as we witness today. “Nigeria was established by our founding fathers, British and Nigerians, as a Democratic country to accommodate all the divergent groups within the nation. Those whose aim is to turn the Nation into a Sharia state are the architects of the present distress.

“The National Christian Elders’ Forum is calling on all Christian leaders to meet urgently and appraise the situation in the Nation with the Vice President, Pastor Yemi Osibanjo SAN as Chairman. “There is the need for a holistic response to the relentless attacks by Islamists on Christians and Christian communities. Thereafter, there should be a meeting with Muslim leaders. This is the only way out of this agony, because while the Islamist Jihadists are few, the majority of Muslims must lead in the fight against Islamist extremism. “If Nigeria is to remain a nation that all the citizens will call their home, Islamic leaders must champion the cause of dismantling the “doctrine of hatred” and promote Democracy which guarantees freedom of choice for all the citizens. “Those pushing for Sharia ideology should be persuaded by their Muslim counterparts that in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society like Nigeria, Sharia as a national ideology cannot stand. “If this is not done, and done quickly, then the nation that is tottering on the edge of the precipice will be pushed beyond the brink. Christians constitute a significant portion of the Nigerian population and, it is impossible to have Nigeria without Christians.”

EGYPT – Still delays for the approval of the law on the construction of churches

egyptian-copts-PRAYER

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) – The start of parliamentary debate on the new Egyptian law that should regulate the construction of churches and places of worship had been announced for the end of May, but almost two months later, the text of bill has not yet been brought into parliament, and is subjected to constant changes. The delays are of concern in the Churches and Christian communities in Egypt. Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II, in a recent interview, reported he often prays for the intention that the legislative process of the new law will soon be accomplished.

Egyptian sources consulted by Agenzia Fides, reported that Anba Paula, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Tanta, continues, as representative of Churches, to meet with officials of the Ministry of Justice and the competent parliamentary committees to make further adjustments to the text, so that it can be approved and does not risk being rejected in court by a parliamentary vote against.

The bill, presented to the relevant parliamentary offices in mid-May (see Fides 16/05/2016) consisted of 13 articles. In the draft it recognized among other things the right of Bishops to appeal to the State Council for delays imposed in an unnatural manner concerning procedures for the construction of new churches.

The new legislation, should lead to the total filing of the rules laid out by the so-called “Hamayoni Decree”, the law which dates back to the Ottoman period which is the cause of many disputes at a local level. According to these rules, the construction of Christian churches is subject to obligations that do not weigh on the construction of mosques, such as the ban on the construction of Christian places of worship close to schools, canals, government buildings, railways and residential areas. (

Iran: Christian Prisoner Physically Abused in Rajai Shahr Prison

Ebrahim-Firouzi-mohabatnews

Ebrahim Firouzi, a Christian prisoner in Rajai Shahr Prison in Iran, has suffered physical abuse at the hands of prison guards when he was forced to attend an appeal hearing.

On 21st August 2013 Ebrahim was arrested with two friends during a raid by plain-clothed security officers. He had also been detained in 2011 and earlier in 2013 because of his Christian activities. The other two believers were released on bail after several months. On 2nd October 2014 Ebrahim was relocated from Evin Prison in Tehran to Rajai Shahr Prison near Karaj. He was due for release on 13th January 2015 but was kept in detention, re-tried on 5th March 2015 and charged with “acting against national security, gathering and collusion”. At the end of April 2015 Ebrahim was sentenced to five years in prison. He is in a ward with potentially dangerous criminals and last year went on hunger strike to protest against these conditions.

On 13th July Ebrahim was summoned to attend an appeal hearing, but he refused to go as he was under the impression that it was sufficient for his lawyer to attend the hearing. Because of his refusal he was beaten by prison guards and forcibly taken to court. One of the presiding judges was absent however, and the appeal has been postponed until November.

Ebrahim’s mother appealed for Ebrahim’s release in a video published by the Human Rights Activists News Agency.

In March Ebrahim was able to release a call to prayer, noting God’s promises to those who remain faithful to him and asking for prayer for himself to stand strong in the face of persecution. He said:

“Jesus is our example; the Saviour who came among us to be crucified and save us. We sometimes have to sacrifice our freedom to live in God’s love, so I can’t think only about myself when there are so many believers suffering persecution.”

Please continue to pray for Ebrahim, asking that:
a. God will keep Ebrahim in His love and strengthen and encourage him despite the abuse and lack of freedom
b. he will be in good health and aware of God’s abounding love to him in Jesus
c. he will be released soon
d. the prison officials will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him

 

Middle East Concern

PRAYER CONFERENCE CALL Event: Join in July with the Persecuted (July 29 thru July 30)

 

July2016 Prayer call Event

(Voice of the Persecuted) I challenge the Christians of the world to pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters, to act on their behalf and to live out the life of Jesus in this needy world around us. Only then we will see a radical change take place in the lives of people. Only then we will see the love of Christ replace the hatred of this world. —Brother Andrew

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

James 5:16

Does prayer work? Does God really answer prayer?  Does He really answer prayer regarding the persecuted Church?

A little over a year ago a tragedy took place in Charleston, South Carolina.  A demonic crazed gunman walked into an African-American church wanting to start a race war between black and white. The young man was welcomed warmly by the people of that church holding a prayer meeting. Later this young man pulled out a gun and martyred 9 precious saints.

This tragedy shocked the Christian community in Charleston and across the nation.  People thought surely Charleston would be ripped apart by racial violence. But it was only when black and white pastors came together, both in Charleston and across the nation, and prayed that racial violence was averted. The families of those who had been martyred we’re able to extend forgiveness to the young man who had perpetrated this evil deed. Prayer did and does work!

For the last three years we interceded for our brother Saeed Abedini in an Iranian prison.  Hundreds of hours of prayers went up for this brother. By the grace of God our brother, as well as three other Americans, were released from an Iranian prison.  We saw the answer to our prayers. Prayer did and does work!

Even as I type out this article, hours of prayers are being offered up for the Day of Rage targeting 37 cities this day. Intercessors are praying because they believe prayer works.

Brothers and sisters I invite you to join Persecution Watch, along with our partner ministries Voice of the Persecuted and International Orality Network, in a 24 hour prayer call to intercede and pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.  I invite you to come and join with me in July and pray for our persecuted family. I invite you to come and pray because we believe prayer works!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Location: Call in from your own phone from any location

When: Friday July 29 thru Saturday July 30

Length of call: 24 Hours (Note: You’re not required to commit to 24 hours. Come on the call and pray as your time allows.)

Time of the Call:

9 p.m. Eastern time

8 p.m.  Central time

7 p.m.  Mountain time

6 p.m. Pacific time

Call number: 712.775.7035
Access code: 281207#

Brothers and sisters please come and pray, as we believe prayer works. Stay on the call 5 minutes, 5 hours, or as long as you feel led. Your prayers make a difference in the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

Lord willing, I look forward to praying with you on the 24-hour call.

Your brother in Christ,

Blaine Scogin

pwprayercall@gmail.com

Serving Jesus as Prayer Director of Voice of the Persecuted and Persecution Watch.

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Sudan’s Christians face ‘ethnic cleansing’

Fierce fighting has erupted in South Sudan’s capital. Picture: AFP

Fierce fighting has erupted in South Sudan’s capital. Picture: AFP

(World Watch Monitor) Five years ago today (11 July, 2011), South Sudan became the world’s newest country after seceding from the North. Following a lengthy dispute over where a border should be drawn, it was decided that Sudan’s predominantly Christian South Kordofan and Blue Nile states would remain in the mainly Sunni Muslim North. In the five years since, the Sudanese government has waged a bombing campaign against this restive, resource-rich region.

Sudan’s Christians are among the hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced by the violence, and whose homes, crops, churches, schools and hospitals have been destroyed. In the latest incident, in June, the sole secondary school in South Kordofan’s Umdorain Country was destroyed.

In April, the US State Department designated Sudan a “Country of Particular Concern” for the tenth consecutive year under the International Religious Freedom Act, for “having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom”.

A new report by Open Doors, a charity that supports Christians under pressure for their faith, says Sudanese Christians – especially those in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states – have been facing and continue to face “ethnic cleansing”.

The Sudan government’s modus operandi was to conquer them, convert them and/or finish them off.

According to the report, successive Islamist regimes have attempted to turn Sudan into a Sharia state that does not recognise other religious groups, with strict punishments for apostasy, blasphemy and defamation of Islam.

These laws have been particularly harsh on ethnically African (as opposed to Arab) Christians, notes the report, which references the high-profile case of Meriam Ibrahim, who was sentenced to death in 2014 for converting from Islam to Christianity. (She was eventually released and allowed to resettle in the United States.)

Following South Sudan’s independence, many Christians in Sudan, especially those whose family roots were in what is now South Sudan, were forced to leave the country, as the Sudanese government embarked on what the report refers to as its mission to create a “homogenous nation”, in which Islam is the sole religion.

The report, which also reviews the Sudanese government’s record over the past 30 years and considers current trends, concludes that attacks against Christians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states are “systematic” and “widespread” in their nature and therefore qualify as “ethnic cleansing”. According to the report, the modus operandi in the 1980s and 1990s was to “conquer them, convert them and/or finish them off”. This continued after war broke out between Sudan and the SPLM/N, the political movement linked to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which fought for South Sudan’s independence.

The report states that the government of Sudan has been using non-violent, administrative measures, coupled with military action, to accomplish its mission. It says the Sudanese military has bombarded civilian villages and agricultural land, hampered the planting of crops and forced people to live in caves. Other studies by USCIRF, Human Rights Watch and Africa Rights Watch are also referenced, which, Open Doors says, are consistent in testifying to “systematic” and “widespread” attacks against Christians.

USCIRF’s report states: “In violation of international law of armed conflicts, Sudanese Air Forces attacked houses of worship through ground offensives and aerial bombardment. Four of Kadugli’s five churches were destroyed and their offices and guest houses attacked … Episcopal pastors and a Sudan Council of Churches representatives in Kadugli described doors and windows torn down, documents and religious papers ripped apart, parts of churches burned and, supplies, vehicles and electronic equipment looted.”

On the subject of attacks against civilians in the Nuba Mountains (part of South Kordofan), the Open Doors report’s findings are in line with the evidence listed in the Nuba Reports (a website that chronicles the attacks against the Nuba people, but without registering the religious affiliation of the victims) and with incidents reported by other rights groups concerned with the Nuba people. According to the Nuba Reports, government forces, especially the air-force, have been attacking civilians consistently for years. In an extensive 2015 report on attacks on civilians in South Kordofan, Amnesty International documented the bombing of hospitals, schools, IDP camps and relief organisations. Again, the report by Amnesty International does not list religious affiliation; however Open Doors’ report says Christians are being targeted specifically.

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SOUTH SUDAN – The Bishop of Yei: “the judiciary should not delay the results of the investigations into the death of Sister Veronika”

“The judiciary should not delay the results of the investigations, and the culprits must be brought to justice” said His Exc. Mgr. Erkolano Lodu Tombe, Bishop of Yei, in southern Sudan, launching an appeal to the authorities to speed up the investigation of suspects who shot the late Sister Veronika Theresa Rackova, Slovakian missionary of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, who died after being fired by soldiers at a checkpoint (see Fides 21/05/2016). Mgr. Ludu has further encouraged the faithful “to have hope, courage and unite in faith to serve God and his people”.
The shooting happened on May 16 while she was driving the St Bakhita ambulance on her way back from Harvester’s Health Centre, she was shot and severely wounded by SPLA soldiers. She was immediately taken to Nairobi due to the severity of her injuries. She died on May 20 after four days of agony. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 06/07/2016)

US evacuates non-emergency staff from South Sudan as cease-fire fails to hold

The United States on Monday announced it would evacuate all non-essential staff from South Sudan as a fifth day of explosions and gun battles in the capital city of Juba raises the specter of a return to civil war.

Widespread fighting between government and opposition forces raged on Monday despite President Salva Kiir’s declaration of a unilateral cease-fire. Former South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar, now the country’s vice president, issued a similar call to end the fighting.

Many residents had no way of escaping the violence.

A “massive explosion” hit shortly after 9 a.m. followed by further blasts in the Tomping area of Juba, home to embassies, the airport and a U.N. base, an aid worker said.

The Canadian embassy closed entirely, according to a message sent to its citizens. India has planned to evacuate its citizens, according to a tweet by its external affairs minister.

“It rings through the whole city every time they fire,” said the aid worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to press. “I think one of the tanks must be near me, my ears are burning.”

South Sudan has been independent for only five years.

Explosions and “very heavy gunfire” sounding “like popcorn,” was reported by a resident in the Gudele area, who insisted on anonymity for safety. Read More

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