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Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Ethiopia

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, June 24, 2021 in a prayer call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Ethiopia: Population 112.8 million, Christians 67,5 million [60%]

Ethiopia is 40% Orthodox Christian and 64% Christian overall. Muslims make up 35% of the population, according to Pew-Templeton’s Global Religious Futures Project. 

Ethiopia is home to one of the oldest churches in the world. It is believed that the first people to convert to Christianity lived were brought to the faith by Matthew and Bartholomew, as well as the Ethiopian Eunuch who spoke with Phillip. The Ethiopian orthodox church was then founded in the 4th century as the country’s religion by it rulers. Despite this extremely old history, the church is coming under attack

There has been ongoing strife in the Oromo region of the country for the past several years, but the Barnabus fund says that the recent killing of these young Christians has been conducted by Islamic extremists. “The attackers are from the Oromo ethnic group, which has traditionally been Muslim, and are members of Qeerroo (meaning, “bachelors”), an Oromo male youth movement. In door-to-door attacks on Christian households the Qeerroo extremists arrived in cars and armed with guns, machetes, swords, and spears, sought out and slaughtered Christians. Children were forced to witness their parents being brutally murdered with machetes.”

Not only have lives been lost, according to the report, “Christians’ business premises and houses were burnt down, vandalized or destroyed by the extremists. Billions of dollars of damage was caused to property and businesses.” Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia who are suffering at the hands of hateful and violent neighbors.

 Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord to direct Ethiopia’s governmental leaders as they continue to work toward solutions to the ongoing religious tensions in the country.
  • Pray that the government ensures that Christians are not excluded from government aid.
  • Pray for unity among the Christian churches, pray for church leaders to focus on growth and revival and avoid divisions. For unity under Jesus.
  • Pray that church leaders understand the times and are guided through the Holy Spirit on how to be both, courageous and proactive in responding the challenges from Islam
  • Pray that God’s people will not become weary in doing what is right, that they will be strengthened and encouraged
  • Pray that believers will boldly proclaim the Gospel, overcoming hatred with the powerful love of Christ.
  • Pray the Holy Spirit will encourage, equip and empower believers facing pressure and persecution.
  • Pray for protection of Christians from violence, particularly in areas where Islamic extremists are active
  • Pray for NGOs to continue to provide training as well as distribution of Christian literature.
  • Pray for Christians who have left the Ethiopian Orthodox church and Islam that they will not be oppressed or discriminated.
  • Pray for strong internet coverage and that there will great messages that will encourage believers and draw in non-believers.
  • Pray that the Lord will protect and prosper His church, that it will be a bright light to all Ethiopians.

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018, pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Ethiopia

6/12/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Prayer Warriors, you are invited to join us on Saturday, June 12th in a prayer conference call hosted by Persecution Watch.

Praying for Ethiopia

It would seem there should not be much persecution against Christians in a nation with a presumably Christian majority. However, life has become much more difficult for Ethiopian Christians. This year, Ethiopia was moved from 39th to 36th on Open Doors World Watch List of the top 50 countries where it’s most difficult to follow Jesus.

Ethiopia is part of the horn of Africa and is bordered by Somalia on the East, Southeast and Northeast (except for a small part, which is Djibouti). To its north is Eritrea, to the south is Kenya, and to the West is Sudan and South Sudan.  The population of Ethiopia is about 113,000,000, with 67,500,000 professing to be Christians. The Muslim population is growing. Its government is a Federal Parliamentary Republic with prime minister Abiy Ahmed at its head.

Despite having religious freedom on paper, violence has been steadily increasing and multiplying in some areas. All denominations except the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) are persecuted by both the government and the EOC.  

Eastern Ethiopia has one of the largest Somali populations in the world, and Christians there are persecuted by both their communities and families.

There has been a wave of attacks against Christians in the South with the rise of Wahabi Islam among the Oromo Muslims, exacerbated by political unrest.

Many churches and believers’ homes have been destroyed and people murdered. There is also political unrest in the East, which has also led to large scale attacks on Christians.  

In Northern Ethiopia, the EOC persecutes evangelical believers, destroying churches, physically assaulting them, and denying them jobs and community services.  

Muslim tribal groups throughout Ethiopia heavily persecute Christians as well.  This is even true in refugee camps for Somalis.

Bibles are printed, sold and distributed in Ethiopia with no restrictions, but remain difficult to obtain in many rural areas.

The government generally works to protect the rights of Christians, but in Muslim enclaves with Muslim leaders, they mostly do not.

Still, evangelical churches in Ethiopia continue to establish other churches and send missionaries to difficult areas, resulting in church growth.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for a good, stable government with wise leaders.
  • Pray for salvation for its current leaders, including Abiy Ahmed.
  • Pray the religious freedom law be enforced.
  • Pray for believers from Muslim or Ethiopian Orthodox backgrounds; be rooted in the Lord, grow in the Lord, have good teachers and pastors.
  • Pray for five-fold ministry to strengthen one another and all the believers.
  • Pray for believers who have lost loved ones through persecution; for the 

windows and the fatherless; for comfort; to be able to forgive.

  • Pray for believers who have lost homes and/or other property, houses or worship; be strengthened, keep eyes on the eternal.
  • Pray for those who have lost jobs because of being a Christian; for God’s provision and strength.
  • Provision and protection for believers.
  • Pray that they have a spirit of praise and joy in the midst of persecution.
  • Pray for increased outreach efforts to the Muslim communities; wisdom and divine appointments; prepare hearts; dreams and visions, convict them.
  • Pray for outreaches to the EOC; for their salvation; have access to Word, read it, be convicted that murder, destroying, etc. is of the Devil.
  • For the EOC to come out of Babylon; that siding with the Muslims is siding with the Antichrist.
  • Pray for NGOs and their ministries; to reach and strengthen those in need; physically, spiritually and mentally.
  • Pray for unity among Christians in Ethiopia; Lord, grow Your church there.

We will also Pray for: 

Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity.

  • Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah. She was the only Christian in the group.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped during the Rann attack on March 1, 2018. She was a nurse working with Unicef and is a mother of two.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China. 

  • On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.

Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime seeking asylum.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, for his release and his family as their persecution continues. 

  • Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.

The Harvest 

  • “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

Tonight, our dear Sister Valerie will moderate the prayer conference call. 

The Lord’s servant,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Mauritania

6/10/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, June 10 2021 in a prayer call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch. 

Mauritania: Population 4.8million, Christians 10,800 [0.2%]

The restrictive environment in Mauritania makes it impossible for Christians to gather openly. This is especially true for converts from Islam, who face enormous pressure from their families and communities. In Mauritania’s tribal culture, leaving Islam is not only seen as religious betrayal, but also as a betrayal of the tribe and family. Understandably, in such a culture there is no room for celebrating baptisms, Christian marriages, or funerals. Those who convert to Christianity could also face prosecution, since it is illegal to leave Islam.  Openly expressing the Christian faith is even risky for foreign nationals, as it could be regarded as an attempt to convert others to Christianity, which can lead to prosecution.

Pressure on Christians in Mauritania has increased in the past year, caused by a tightening of the blasphemy and apostasy laws. Christians have experienced growing opposition in every area of life apart from family life, which remains at the same level. The sharpest rise is in violence, but this could be because more incidents are being reported. Those who make the bold decision to leave Islam and follow Jesus are especially prone to persecution. It’s a decision that brings shame to their families. Men will lose their status in society and may be forced to leave their home. Women and girls could remain under the influence of Islam if forced into marriage with a Muslim man. Conversely, unmarried women will face a battle for survival, since they are totally financially dependent on either their father or husband.

Prayer Points

  • Pray to the Lord that he will touch the government leaders to change their perception of Christianity. Lord help them to understand: Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight.
  • Pray that the law in Mauritania will change so that it is no longer illegal to leave Islam.
  • Ask for strength and protection for all converts, and that families will increasingly honor and respect the decision of any member to follow Jesus.  Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.     
  • Pray that opportunities will open up for believers to share the gospel with others safely
  • Ask that believers under pressure to renounce their faith will have the strength to cling to Jesus; may this stance powerfully speak to their neighbors and communities.  Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.
  •  Pray for NGOs like Open doors and others to support the church through distributing Christian literature, providing training, and organizing advocacy support.
  •   Pray that that the Lord’s hand of protection is on Christian girls and women, that they are safe from forced marriages to Muslim men.
  • Pray the Lord will give His believers safe places to worship and hear His word.
  • Pray for the Christian children to stay strong in faith when exposed to Islamic teachings.
  • Pray for strong internet coverage and that there will great messages that will encourage believers and draw in non-believers.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will appear to Muslims in their dreams and connect them with believers.
  • Pray that the Lord that He will grow the church, pray that the Lord will multiply the numbers of believers hundredfold.

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018, pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Pastor of Church Ordered to Close in Algeria Sentenced to Prison

Algeria (Morning Star News) – Less than a week after a a court in Algeria ordered pastor Rachid Seighir’s church to close, a judge in a separate case today sentenced him to a year in prison and a fine for “shaking the faith” of Muslims with Christian literature at his bookstore, sources said.

Pastor Seighir’s Oratoire Church building in the city of Oran was one of three ordered to be sealed in western Algeria’s Oran Province on Wednesday (June 2). On Sunday (June 6) he and bookstore salesman Nouh Hamimi were sentenced to a year in prison and a fine of 200,000 dinars (US$1,494) in a ruling on their appeal of a prior sentence of two years in prison and a fine of 500,000 dinars (US$3,745).

The pastor was the manager of the now-closed bookstore in Oran, a coastal city 268 miles west of Algiers. The judgment in March read that he and Hamimi were condemned for “distributing publications or any other propaganda undermining the faith of a Muslim.”

Pastor Seighir has said the conviction was mere retaliation in a conflict over the bookstore going back to 2008, when he was convicted of the same charges and acquitted on appeal. The governor of Oran ordered the bookshop closed in 2017, but in April 2018, a court ruled the closure order was invalid due to procedural problems – though authorities continued to keep the bookshop closed, he said.

Sunday’s appeal ruling came after postponements of scheduled hearings on May 16 and May 30. The Christians’ attorney, Farid Khemisti, said they would appeal on Wednesday (June 9) to the Court of Oran and, if necessary, to the Supreme Court.

Algeria’s 2006 law regulating non-Muslim worship, known as Law 03/06, criminalizes the publishing or distributing of any materials “which aim to undermine the faith of a Muslim.” Punishment can range from two to five years in prison and fines of 500,000 to 1 million Algerian dinars (US$3,745 to US$7,490).

Church Closures

The court ruling on Wednesday (June 2) ordering the closure Pastor Seighir’s church building and those of churches in El-Ayaid and Ain-Turk came as a result of efforts to seal the buildings by the governor (wali) of Oran Province.

“This is a judgment that the wali of Oran won against us,” Pastor Seighir told Morning Star News. “It is ordered to proceed with the immediate closure of the three places of worship.”

Ain-Turk is about 35 kilometers (21 miles) west of the city of Oran, and El-AIyaid is about 35 kilometers east of Oran.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t understand what’s going on,” Pastor Seighir said. “This is purely an attack against us Algerian Christians and the churches. There have been three different walis, and that did not prevent the charges against us from remaining. It is therefore clear that the source of our trouble comes from those higher than the walis.”

On Dec. 28, 2017, the then-governor of Oran Province, Mouloud Cherifi, had sent notice that the Oratoire church was “not in accordance with the laws in force,” namely registration under Law 03/06, which regulates non-Muslim worship. The 2006 law requires non-Muslim worship buildings to be licensed, but all applications to do so have remained unattended.

The ruling against Pastor Seighir and Hamimi comes after a Christian who had received and reposted a cartoon of the prophet of Islam on his Facebook account three years ago was sentenced to five years in prison and fined 100,000 dinars (US$750) under an Algerian law against insulting Muhammad.

Christian Interrogated

In Ain-Defla Province about 145 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Algiers, Gendarmerie stopped two Christians preparing to travel to worship in the capital, holding one for four hours of interrogation, he said.

Ahmed Beghal (name changed for security reasons) said officers also searched his home and seized Christian books and personal documents.

On May 11 at about 7 a.m. Beghal and his friend had yet to leave his town of Ain Seltane when officers stopped them on the road, he said. Taken to brigade quarters, Beghal was held for questioning while his friend was quickly released after separate questioning.

“Not knowing the reason for our arrest, I questioned the head of the brigade,” Beghal said. “The latter replied, ‘There are many rumors and accusations circulating about you. You are very active, it seems.’”

Beghal, whose wife and children left him in 2017 because of his conversion to Christianity, said that the day before the arrest he and others had shared the gospel with people.

After officers questioned him, they took him to his home to search it.

“They took all my books and documents,” Beghal told Morning Star News. “They told me that to get them back I have to go to the public prosecutor.”

Beghal, who wrote to the prosecutor asking for his belongings to be returned to him, is scheduled to appear before a judge on June 16. He is accused of fundraising for the creation of a Christian association without authorization.

Islam is the state religion in the 99-percent Muslim country. Since 2000, thousands of Algerian Muslims have put their faith in Christ. Algerian officials estimate the number of Christians at 50,000, but others say it could be twice that number.

Algeria ranked 24th on Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, up from 42nd place in 2018.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Egypt

5/13/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, May 13 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch. 

Egypt: Population 1.3 million, Christians 16.2 million [15.8%]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has promised to improve the situation of the country’s Christians, who by many estimates constitute about fifteen percent of the population and face pervasive discrimination and intolerance. To date, al-Sisi’s most significant step has been his issuance of the Church Construction and Renovation Law (Law 80/2016) in September 2016. The law was supposed to address the longstanding demands of Egypt’s Christian communities for a more just and streamlined system of obtaining permits to build, renovate, and repair churches. Special restrictions on churches including the need for high-level state permission for building; deference to Muslims’ objections to the presence of churches in local communities; and interference by security agencies have all made it very difficult to build and operate churches in Egypt. One result has been a disproportionately large disparity in the number of Christian and Muslim places of worship.

Law 80/2016 has been widely touted as a crucial step toward addressing deep-rooted problems of discrimination faced by Egypt’s Christian population, and it includes some positive elements. But the hopes for significant change that accompanied its issuance have not been realized. More than two years into the implementation of Law 80, the positive impact has been minimal.

  • Of nearly 3,800 unlicensed churches waiting to be legalized, the authorities have recognized less than one third.

The law has not changed the fundamental problem: the state’s treatment of churches as a security issue that must be tightly managed to avoid provoking conflict with Muslim communities. Moreover, the al-Sisi regime has failed to make any real progress on other systemic problems hindering Christians’ freedom of worship, including unlawful church closures, harassment of worshippers by security agencies, failure to protect churches from sectarian violence, and

Who is most vulnerable to persecution? Most incidents and mob attacks take place in Upper Egypt, the southern part of the country which is known to be more conservative and radical than the north. The Minya Governate is notorious for having the highest number of attacks on Christians. However, Christians in the economically disadvantaged rural areas in the north experience a similar degree of oppression at the hands of Islamic extremists, especially in the villages and towns of the Nile Delta region. Islamic extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood have nationwide support, but violent Islamic militants are only openly active in the north-eastern area of the Sinai Peninsula.

  • Pray for president al-Sisi that the Lord will give him strength and guide him to fully implement the spirit and directions of the Church Construction and Renovation Law.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will it make possible for Christians to be elected to responsible government offices.
  • Pray for the release of all Christians imprisoned or held captive, and for the safety of all Christians as they go about their daily lives.
  • Pray for an end to all false accusations and senseless attacks against Christians, and that there will be an urgency in local police forces to seek justice for all wrongdoing.
  • Pray for the protection of church buildings and safety for the worshippers.
  • Pray that Christians in Egypt will have courage and wisdom to shine the light of Christ brightly in their communities.
  • Pray that the Lord will protect young Christian girls and teenagers from being abducted. They are abducted for their faith with the intention of forced conversion and marriage or trafficking.
  • Pray for the Lord to convict the abductors, spoil and foil their plans. Appear to them in their dreams.
  • Pray for special protection of converts from the Muslim faith, that they can withstand pressures from family and community.
  • Pray to give the persecuted the ability to pray for and forgive their persecutors. 
  • Pray for unity of the Christian churches. That they stand together.
  • Pray to the Lord that the efforts of the Muslim radicals will be ineffective to stop the growth of His church.

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord:

  •  Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018, pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  •  Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped and now waiting for a visa to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Praying for Christians attacked in Nigeria

5/10/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Prayer Warriors, you are invited to join us on Tuesday, May 10 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted Church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Tonight, we will pray for Christians suffering extreme trials in Nigeria.

Nurse Grace Zugwai Nkut, who was abducted in Kaduna state, Nigeria on April 21, 2021 

Read report here

Herdsmen Kill Christians in Nigeria’s Nasarawa, Plateau States.

Read report here

We will continue remember our Brothers and sisters in India. 

We will also Pray for: 

Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity.

  • Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah. She was the only Christian in the group.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped during the Rann attack on March 1, 2018. She was a nurse working with Unicef and is a mother of two.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China. 

  • On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.

Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime seeking asylum.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, for his release and his family as their persecution continues. 

  • Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.

The harvest 

  • “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

The Lord’s servant,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Kidnappings Terrorize Christians in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Nurses, pastor’s wife taken, plus mass abduction from one village.

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen in north-central Nigeria kidnapped a pastor’s wife from her home and two nurses from a hospital, while other Islamic extremists may have joined herdsmen in abducting more than 70 people from one village, sources said.

Fulaki Ozigi was kidnapped along with her husband, Mercy Place Ministry Church pastor Ozigi Hassan, and their four children from their home in Kudenda, in Kaduna state’s Chikun County, in the early hours of April 30, police said. Police pursuing the herdsmen into the forest were able to recover the pastor and the children, but the kidnappers escaped with Fulaki Ozigi, police spokesman Mohammed Jalige said.

At a public hospital in Idon, Kajuru County in southern Kaduna state, heavily armed Fulani herdsmen kidnapped two Christian nurses from a public hospital on the night of April 21, leaders of the Fellowship of Christian Nurses said. Cafra Caino, chairman of the Kajuru Local Government Council, identified the two women as Afiniki Bako and Grace Nkut.

A statement from the Fellowship of Christian nurses said they were “were very committed to sharing and living the gospel in their workplace.”

A nurse who escaped the attack, Rifkatu Alfred, said the herdsmen forced their way into the hospital shooting sporadically.

Nurse Afiniki Bako was kidnapped from a rural hospital in Kaduna state, Nigeria on April 21, 2021. (Fellowship of Christian Nurses)

“When they left, they called to say they were the kidnappers who abducted the two nurses, and if they are not given money, they will kill them,” Alfred told Morning Star News by phone, adding that they initially demanded 500 million naira (US$1.3 million) as ransom but later reduced it to 200 million naira (US$522,876).

Area resident Donatus Ayuba and Shingyu Shamnom, medical director of the hospital, concurred in separate messages to Morning Star News that the kidnappers were armed Fulani herdsmen.

Ishaku Yakubu, chairman of the National Association of Nurses and Midwives of Nigeria, Kaduna State Chapter, said the two nurses were serving the rural poor.

“We’re not safe, and health facilities in the state are no longer secured,” Yakubu said. “Beside the kidnapping of these two, five others were kidnapped before.”

Nurse Grace Zugwai Nkut was abducted in Kaduna state, Nigeria on April 21, 2021. (Fellowship of Christian Nurses)

Under Siege

In Libera Gida village, Kajuru County, militants from the Islamic extremist Boko Haram are suspected alongside herdsmen of kidnapping 72 residents on April 22, sources said.

Villagers counted 72 people missing after the late-night attack, 56 females and 16 males, according to a statement from Luka Binniyat, spokesman of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU). The kidnappers called their families on April 29 saying they had 77 Christians in captivity – with the additional five possibly coming from other raids – and that they would be killed if 350 million naira (US$915,033) were not paid, Binniyat said.

The Kaduna state government failed to make any mention of the mass abduction in its regular updates on security in the state, he said.

“Meanwhile, after unceasing siege on Christian farming communities in Kajuru LGA, more Christian communities have fallen under the control of these armed men, which we now suspect to be a coalition of armed herdsmen and Boko Haram,” Binniyat said.

The number of communities captured by armed herdsmen in Kajuru County is now 31, and throughout southern Kaduna state they have taken no fewer than 100 communities, he said.

The Rev. Solomon Tafida, senior pastor of Salvation Baptist Church, Kaduna, estimated there are 4,000 Christians held captive in Kaduna state by either herdsmen or Boko Haram.

“Most of the Christian victims who escaped from the camps of the herdsmen say there are over 4,000 Christians being held in captive camps in forests along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, near Rijana village,” he said.

The Kaduna state government’s quarterly security report stated that a total of 323 persons were killed and 949 others kidnapped by bandits in three months across the state.

“Deaths linked to banditry, violent attacks, communal clashes and reprisals in the first quarter total 323 across the state,” said Samuel Aruwan, commissioner for internal security and home affairs, who released the report on April 30. “Of these, 20 were women and 11 were minors.”

Nigeria led the world in number of kidnapped Christians last year with 990, according to Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List report. In the 2021 list of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.

In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list. Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to the report.

Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.

Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

Herdsmen Kill Christians in Nigeria’s Nasarawa, Plateau States

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 12 Christians in Nasarawa state and three others in Plateau state the last part of April, sources said.

In north-central Nigeria’s Nasarawa state, herdsmen killed 12 Christian farmers in Ajimaka, Doma County, in attacks there and in 13 other villages from April 24 until April 29, area leader Barnabas Zayol told Morning Star News. The attacks displaced tens of thousands of people, Christian leaders said.

A survivor of the attack on Ajikama village, Terlumun Tsekaa, said the herdsmen arrived at about 2 a.m. on April 24 with guns and machetes and killed his wife, who was seven months pregnant, and 3-year-old child.

“There were more than 30 of these herdsmen who attacked us, and they were shouting ‘Allah akbar [Allah is greater]’ as they shot at us and burned our houses,” Tsekaa told Morning Star News. “They set fire on all houses in the village. They also killed a whole family of five members.”

In Doma County, the herdsmen also attacked Dooshima, Antsa, Dooka, Angwan Yara, Ikyayior, Targema, Tse Tor, Chia, Umurayi, Dooga, Gindan Rail and Ankoma villages; in Keana County, they attacked Ategher, Avewua, Ugbele Aondokaa, Ikper, Gborgyo and Uluwa Kwananke villages, Zayol said.

“They burned down houses and killed indiscriminately anyone they sighted,” Zayol said. “Those killed during the attacks include children and pregnant women.”

Victims were members of Universal Reformed Christian Church (NKST in Nigeria), Roman Catholic, Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ (ERCC) and Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) churches, he said. He identified those slain as Tsekaa Chiatyo, Kwaghdoo Tsekaa, Sewuese Tsekaa, Bobo Chiatyo, Aondosee Fidelis, Aboy, Igba Aduku, Iwueseter, Aseer, Kasehumba, William Katu and Aondowase Agbu.

Citing nine dead, police confirmed the attacks and said personnel were sent to the area. Ramhan Nansel, spokesman for the Nasarawa State Police Command, said in a statement that officers received report of the attack on Ajimaka at about 6 a.m. on April 24.

“Upon receipt of the information, a joint team of police and military personnel were deployed to the scene, where nine corpses were recovered, each with multiple machete cuts,” Nansel said.

Nasarawa Gov. Abdullahi Sule issued a statement through his chief press secretary, Ibrahim Addra.

“An attack that does not spare women and children bears the trademark of devilish elements who are bent on truncating the relative peace in the state,” he said. “A thorough investigations by security operatives have since commenced in order to expose the criminals and punish them according to the laws of the land. My condolences and prayers are with families of those who lost their lives.

“I urge them and the rest of our citizens to be assured that this administration will do all within its power to ensure justice, peace and security across the state.”

Attack on Funeral in Plateau State

In neighboring Plateau state on April 25, Fulani herdsmen killed one Christian and wounded another in Miango, Bassa County, an area resident said.

“Danlami Musa, 21, was killed, while Friday Musa, 19, his brother, was injured during the attack at about 7 p.m. at the twins hills, Miango,” Patience Moses said. “Please keep praying for God’s intervention on our behalf.”

On the same day in Bokkos County, herdsmen killed Christian community leader Yakubu Dadel in Jwanshak village in an attack on a funeral service at about 8:30 p.m., his son said.

Ayuba Dadel said his father was killed as other villagers scampered into nearby bushes.

“We were holding a funeral service when the Fulani gunmen came shooting sporadically, and everyone scampered for safety,” Dadel said in a text message to Morning Star News. “My father was in his house and only ran out to lock his gate. When they sighted him, they chased after him with serious gunfire. They first injured him on the hand, and when he ran to his bedroom, they followed him, dragged him to the ground from his bed and shot him point blank.”

Also in Bokkos County, Fulani herdsmen attacked Daffo village on April 20, killing Christian resident Iliya Mutong, villagers said.

“Iliya Mutong was cut with machetes until he died at about 8 p.m.,” Kyanan Mizhim said in a text message to Morning Star News. “He was sitting in front of his house when a group of Fulani herdsmen attacked him.”

In Jos South County on April 9, Fulani herdsmen were suspected in the killing of eight Christian miners at Shawalan mining site, near Kuru village. Emmanuel Jang, a Jos South council official, said their bodies were retrieved from the site and a funeral was held for them.

“They were all members of the Church of Christ in Nations,” Jang said in a text message to Morning Star News.

On March 13 in Barkin Ladi County, high school student David James, 18, was killed by Fulani herdsmen in Dorowa Babuje village, his father said. Solomon James, 68, said in a text message to Morning Star News that his son was killed in their home shortly before 8 p.m.

Community leader John Choji confirmed the killing of James.

“Our community has been under siege of armed Fulani herdsmen for a number of years now,” Choji said.

In the Dutse area of Miango on Feb. 1, a band of herdsmen killed twelve Christian farmers as they worked their fields, according to Edward Egbuka, Plateau state commissioner of police.

World Leader in Christians Killed

Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Open Door’s 2021 World Watch List report.

In the 2021 list of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.

Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.

Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.

The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.

“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

Photo: Nasarawa state, Nigeria. (Creative Commons)

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