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Category Archives: Chad

Rising Islamist militancy across Sahel belt threatens African Christianity

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As the world focuses on potential military advances against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it risks overlooking another vast region where militant Islam is a growing threat to the Church – in the continent where the Church is growing fastest: Africa.

Amongst other factors, the chaos in Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi – characterised by easy access to weapons of all sorts combined with the increasing presence of jihadists – has had a spill-over effect into Africa’s vast Sahel region. This spans the African continent from Senegal in the west to western Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia in the east. (The ‘Sahel’ describes the ecological and geographic region between the Sahara Desert and the humid and fertile savannah belt north of Africa’s tropical rainforest).

The most dramatic example of this Islamist militancy is in northern Mali, where Islamist militants and foreign fighters made common cause with Tuareg rebels to take over a large portion of the country in 2012. For most of the year, until the French military were forced to intervene, armed Islamist groups ruled the region, banning the practice of other religions and desecrating and looting churches and other places of worship.

In addition to the main group involved then, the jihadist Ansar Dine, other militant groups active in the Sahel region include Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram and Islamic State (IS).

A new report from Open Doors International, a charity providing support to the global Church under pressure, shows that the rise of Islamist militancy in the region is undermining freedom of religion. According to the report, puritanical and militant versions of Islam (particularly Salafism/Wahhabism) are increasingly taking root – in a manner that reflects recent developments in the rest of the world – as a result of Islamist missionaries and NGOs from the Middle East, funded by (until recently) oil-rich Gulf States like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Fertile ground

The Sahel, which encompasses parts of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, has been predominantly Muslim for centuries. Due to a mix of environmental, demographic, economic and political factors, all the states that exist in this region are very fragile.

Troops from Mali and Niger, supported by their French counterparts, conduct regular joint operations to hunt for militants in the western part of the region.

The report indicates that the Islamist groups in the region are very hostile to Christianity and show this through violent acts. Northern Mali has witnessed violent attacks against Christians and churches – notably in 2012, during jihadist occupation. There have also been a series of abductions by jihadist groups, which kidnap Christian workers not only to finance operations through demanding ransoms, but also to deter Christians from working in the region. The Swiss missionary, Beatrice Stockly, kidnapped in Timbuktu in January, is still being held hostage by AQIM.

In neighbouring Niger, Islamists burned down more than 70 churches, as well as Christian homes, schools and orphanages, in a series of arson attacks in January 2015.

Rampant radicalization

Islamist groups in the Sahel, like others elsewhere, don’t tolerate other Muslims who adhere to a version of Islam different from their own. Violence and terror is their preferred modus operandi. The report suggests that any further increase in their numbers and influence would add to the difficulties Christians are facing.

Even if these groups do not succeed in imposing Sharia and establishing Islamic “caliphates” at a national level, they will still contribute to the overall radicalisation of the population and the spread of an extremist and intolerant version of Islam, says the report. It says this has created an environment in which any Christian outreach ministry – not to mention the very existence of the Church itself – faces violent resistance.

The radical militancy of jihadist groups in the Sahel is also spilling over further south and giving rise to terrorist attacks in predominantly Christian parts of West Africa, notes the report. The attack on the Grand-Bassam resort in Ivory Coast (March 2016) has highlighted the vulnerability of these countries.

In the long-term, unless these groups are defeated, it is very likely that they will intensify their campaign of terrorism and violence in southern Nigeria and other West African countries which have thus far been relatively spared from terrorist activism, warns the report.

It concludes that the situation for Christians in the Sahel is precarious. It says the region is becoming a new major hotspot for Islamist groups, many of which have allied themselves to international terror franchises like IS and al-Qaeda. It is very important that the countries in the region strengthen their cooperation against these militant groups, says the report, adding that countries outside the region capable of providing assistance should also help.

In addition to robust and decisive military action, the report says it is also important not to adopt a purely one-dimensional approach. The socio-economic and political realities in the region, of which the militant groups take advantage, also need to be transformed, it says. It is only when these underlying realities are changed that Christians and non-Christians will be able to enjoy security and freedom in the region.

Full report here

Africa: Expanding Attacks Boko Haram Terrorizes the Region

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(Voice of the Persecuted) On Monday(July 27) the Boko Haram stormed into the Christian villages of Dille and Mwuthamam

More than 130 people were killed by female suicide bombers across Nigeria and Cameroon. It is believed that Islamic militants, Boko Haram carried out the attacks. The group has used women and young girls as suicide bombers in their latest series of attacks that have rocked the region. Many fear these females may have been those abducted by the militants and forced to strap on bombs in the militant group’s murderous onslaught.

On Sunday(July 26), a female suicide bomber detonated herself at the entrance of a market in Damaturu, Nigeria, killing 15 people and injuring 47, many in critical condition.  Witnesses say the 40 year old woman was well known and that she was mentally unstable.

In the fifth suicide attack to blast Cameroon in two weeks, a child bomber blew herself up on Saturday night(July 25) in a bar located in the town of Maroua, killing 20 and injuring at least 79. Only a week ago, Maroua had suffered an attack when two girls blew themselves up at a busy market—13 people were killed and at least 30 injured. The Cameroon army is part of the coalition battling the ravenous group. The town is the army’s headquarters for operations against the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. Cameroon has taken extensive security measures by banning motorbikes after dark and prohibited the full Islamic veil in Maroua.

During its six-year insurrection, Boko Haram has frequently used women and young girls as suicide bombers. Often the explosives are concealed under traditional religious garments.

On Friday (July 24) the group targeted Maikadiri village. Witnesses said at least 14 people died and 500 cows were slaughtered.

On Monday (July 27) Boko Haram militants choosing not to attract the attention of soldiers with gunfire, slit the throats of sixteen Christian fishermen on the shores of Lake Chad in the Nigerian state of Borno. This form of execution has been common in their 6 year terror campaign to install strict Islamic law in the region, particularly, Nigeria. All of the victims in this incident were Chadian citizens.

Bishop Rosario Pio Ramolo, of the Diocese of Goré, said, “Attacks have multiplied in Chad, causing the more than seventy deaths and two hundred wounded.” “The Chadian President Idriss Deby has declared open war against the Islamists and these acts represent an attempt at revenge. Before now the extremists had not acted in Chad, despite being on the border with Nigeria.”

Authorities also fear that Islamists have infiltrated among Central African refugees or among Chadians repatriated from the Central African Republic. Clothing covering all or part of the face, such as the burqa or hijab, the Islamic veil, has been prohibited.

The mayor of N’Djamena also illegallized begging for security reasons. (source)

On Wednesday (July 29)  Authorities in the border region of Diffa, in southeast Niger, banned the full Islamic veil Wednesday, following attacks in the province. They have also imposed a night-time curfew and extended a February ban on motorcycles, which are often used in raids by Boko Haram militants.

On Sunday (Aug. 2) Boko Haram fighters killed 13 people, injured 27 and set homes ablaze in an attack on Malari village in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state. Witnesses claim the militants accused them of conspiring with the military and notifying them of their camp locations. In a air/ground offense, the Nigerian military reported killing “a large number” of militants in repelling an attack on Bitta village near the Sambisa forest reserve.

During the raids, Nigeria’s military says it had rescued 178 people held by the Boko Haram in Borno state. In a statement on Sunday by Army spokesman Colonel Tukur Gusau, “101 of the those freed were children, 67 were women and 10 were men.” Last week, over 70 Boko Haram captives had also been rescued by the military.

Please remember to pray daily for those facing this horrific evil. May God fill them with supernatural peace and endurance as they press into Jesus, our eternal Savior.

Project 13:3 Nigeria, Voice of the Persecuted’s aid relief mission is working in one of the hardest hit areas in Nigeria. We’re covering Christians who have suffered great loss and incredible heartbreak. In a primitive refugee camp for the internally displaced, we help to supply the needs of over a hundred people, including widows and orphans. Help us to show the love of Christ for these suffering brethren—their emotional, physical and spiritual needs are so great.

If you would like to send an encouraging letter, please do so in the notes portion when donating. It truly uplifts them to hear from their family in Christ and know you are praying for them!

Together with your generous support, 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

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and 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 mail your gift to:

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

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Boko Haram intensifies terror attacks

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Nigeria: On July 10, a Boko Haram militant dressed as a woman was apprehended. He later confessed to being a member of the Islamist terrorist group. And told authorities that he intended to meet 29 other members who were present in Yola.

Monday, the Borno state police commissioner confirmed attacks by Boko Haram near Monguno.

“Boko Haram terrorists had on Friday night attacked Misala and Kalwa, which are two neighboring villages. The two villages are located not more than 17km from Monguno town on the way to Marte.

Through the night, they set houses ablaze. And later 43 persons were found dead either killed by gunshots or slaughtered like animals. They continued their attacks on other villages around the area, and set the homes ablaze. These villages had already been  abandoned, so there were no fatalities. A security member said many villages in the Monguno local government areas are being attacked almost  daily.

Chad: On July 11, a suicide bomber dressed as a woman (in a full-face veil) attacked a busy market in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad killing 15 people and injuring nearly 100. Military police tried to stop him, but was heard saying, “Allahu Akbar,” God is great in Arabic, before detonating himself.

A month ago, N’Djamena was the scene of a deadly attack that killed nearly 40 people. After that attack, Chad put a ban on women wearing the burqa attempting to prevent suicide attacks. In June, 2 more suicide bombings in N’Djamena killed 11 people.

The Chadian authorities have now stepped up their security measures and warned anyone found wearing the Muslim full-face veil would be arrested. With the latest attack, Chad plans to strictly enforce the ban. Paul Manga, national police spokesman was quoted as saying, “It now must be respected more than ever by the entire population.” And “Anyone who does not obey the law will be automatically arrested and brought to justice.”

Chad has been a major participant in the 4 nation coalition offensive (including Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon) to fight against Boko Haram. The Islamic terror group has publicly threatened the Chadian President with retaliation.

A deadly attack was thwarted when explosives were found at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in the city of Jos on Sunday, July 12. Sources say the bombs were later defused by the Explosives Ordinance Division of the Nigerian Police Force. Jos is an area which has suffered at hands the militants during it’s 6 year long brutal campaign. 

A spokesman for the state police in Plateau said, “It was averted because the bomb was detected by the church’s security personnel. There were no casualties.” 

Cameroon: The Cameroonian military reported that at least 12 civilians and a Chadian soldier were killed in two suicide attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants in the town of Fotokol of northern Cameroon, in the evening on Sunday, July 12. An officer said the attacks were targeting a special forces camp located in the town.

Niger: The militants who intended free its members from the prison in the town of Diffa, were repelled according to the country’s military. Three Boko Haram members were killed, along with one soldier in the gun battle. The prison had been attack early this year in February by the Islamic militants.

Trying to instill fear, Boko Haram recently released a video showing gruesome execution similar to the ones seen in the ISIS videos.

On Monday, Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari fired the security chiefs of the army, navy and air force  as the country endures the worst period of violence by Islamist insurgents since he came to power six weeks ago.Replacements have been chosen but have not been announced.

View the Fox News interview with Former Ambassador John Campbell and Emmanuel Ogebe, a international human rights lawyer debate the extremist group’s capabilities. 

Voice of the Persecuted

Serving those most affected by the crisis, we ask for your help. Together with your generous support, 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

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and 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

give-love-with-open-hands

Another Young girl suicide bomber kills five in Nigeria

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Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) – A girl thought to be as young as seven-years-old on Sunday killed herself and five others in a suicide bombing in northeast Nigeria as President Goodluck Jonathan conceded his government had underrated the capacity of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.  (Read More)

Another young girl this time as young as 7 years old.   Our hearts go out to the family of this child and the families of the victims.  It’s becoming common place for this demoniacal band to use children.  As we reported in the past, Boko Haram will kill men, and kidnap the wives and children.  Indoctrinating these precious children with a satanic ideology that teaches them to kill.  Or worse, they take an innocent child and strap a bomb to them and set them off in the market place.  In addition to the five that were killed, 19 were injured.

“Potiskum is the largest city in Yobe state with booming business in the area. It has one of the largest Cattle markets in Africa and the largest in West Africa. Most of the cattle are transported to other parts of the country”  It’s seen it’s share of sorrow and attacks from Boko Haram.

  • On 3 November 2014, at least 30 people were killed as the result of a suicide bombing at a Shia Muslim religious procession at Faydia Islamic school.
  • On 10 November 2014, over 40 students were killed by a suicide bomber during a student assembly at the Government Science Secondary School.”
  • On 11 January 2015, four people were killed and over 40 were injured at Kasuwar Jagwal GSM market after an attack by two female suicide bombers, one of whom appeared to be about 15 years old.
  • A car bombing on the same day killed 2 and wounded 1 at the Divisional Police Station

Boko Haram has launched a fierce attack on Maiduguri recently and as we reported cut all roads off but one.  It has put the approx. 200,000 Christians there on edge and in danger of attack.

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Goodluck Jonathon said today that his government underestimated the threat of Boko Haram.  Cameroon, Chad and Niger have sent their militaries to Nigeria to combat Boko Haram.  France is visiting Nigeria and urging Nigeria to commit to fully combating the savage group.  “It is necessary that there be full commitment from Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram,” he told reporters during a press conference in Niger’s capital, Niamey.  France is offering intelligence sharing and other assistance to the 3 armies.

The presidential election is still 4 weeks away, and what was said a month ago to be a neck and neck race is turning it seems for Buhari, an ex-military dictator.

It seems as if the media is uplifting him.  As we have said before he has a very checkered past.  He led Nigeria after a coup, until he himself was ousted.  According to a report from NBC Human-rights groups have accused Buhari’s regime of crushing political dissent and installing harsh military values into civilian life.”A lot of journalists and civil society campaigners were arrested and thrown in jail without a trial,” Nigerian author and historian Max Siollun told NBC News. “This was either because they were critical of the government of accused of fomenting dissent among opposition groups.” (More

He has promised to crush Boko Haram, something that until now has not been done.  Millions are throwing their vote to him because of this promise.  Nigerians are weary, the slaughter and sorrow they have seen is immeasurable and would break a seasoned war veteran. They have endured so much suffering.  Christians especially.  Two Million are displaced and hundreds of thousands have been killed.

  • Pray for Nigeria, pray for the election to be peaceful.
  • Pray for knowledge wisdom and guidance to the people as they elect their leader.
  • Pray for protection and for God to intervene.
  • Pray for Comfort for the suffering.
  • Pray for all the children held captive by Boko Haram to be released
  • Pray for the widows and their children
  • Pray for the Clergy there for strength and courage in their ministry to the suffering

By C. Refsland/L. Kanalos VOP Advocates

Related:

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST! Nigerian pastor describes the persecutions they are facing and calls for the Body of Christ in unity – PRAY FOR US! (VOP)

Voice of the Persecuted is an interdenominational organization standing with and stepping up for the persecuted. Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate their 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

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you have greatly blessed others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

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