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Terrorists Gun Down, Bomb Worshippers in Southwest Nigeria

Nigeria, (Morning Star News) – Terrorists launched a gun and bomb attack at the end of a Catholic Mass in southwest Nigeria on Sunday (June 5), killing an estimated 70 worshippers, sources said.

The terrorists attacked the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state, at about 9 a.m., church leaders and residents told Morning Star News in text messages shortly after the attack.

A priest at the church, the Rev. Andrew Abayomi, told Morning Star News that as the worship service was coming to an end, the terrorists threw explosive devices on the church building and shot at worshippers.

“We were in worship Mass when the terrorists attacked us. They shot at the congregation while breaking into the church by throwing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at the church building,” Abayomi said. “Some of us hid inside the church as they shot randomly at us. This lasted for about 20 minutes before they retreated.”

He said it was difficult to give details about the number killed and injured, as leaders were focusing on transferring the wounded to hospitals. Owo legislative representative Adelegbe Timileyin told the AP that another priest at the church was abducted in the attack.

Among other Owo residents, Loye Owolemi, said about 70 worshipers were shot dead and others abducted wheno terrorists attacked the church service. 

“Today is a black day in Owo town in Ondo state, as about 70 Christians were killed during an attack on a Catholic Church,” another Owo resident, Augustine Aluko, told Morning Star News. “The Christian victims were killed as they were in worship service.”

Ondo Gov. Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said it was a “black Sunday” in Owo.

“Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquility have been attacked by the enemies of the people,” Akeredolu said in press statement. “This is a personal loss, an attack on our dear state…I am shocked to say the least. Nevertheless, we shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay. We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolves to rid our state of criminals.”

While no one immediately took responsibility for the assault, predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen were suspected. They have committed kidnapping and killings primarily in northern Nigeria but have been increasingly active in otherwise peaceful Ondo state, prompting the state government to implement recent restrictions on grazing.

Adeyemi Olayemi, a lawmaker in Ondo, told reporters that Fulani terrorists were suspected as they were likely retaliating for grazing restrictions implemented in response to an uptick in kidnappings in the state.

“We have enjoyed improved security since herdsmen were driven away from our forests by this administration,” Olayemi reportedly said. “This is a reprisal attack to send a diabolical message to the governor.”

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, condemned the attack.

“No matter what, this country shall never give in to evil and wicked people, and darkness will never overcome light,” Buhari said. “Nigeria will eventually win.”

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.

Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.

Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

In the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 the previous year.

3 Dead in Knife Attack in French Church; Terrorism Suspected in 3rd Attack in 2 Months

PARIS (AP) CBN – An attacker armed with a knife killed three people inside a church Thursday in the Mediterranean city of Nice, prompting the government to raise its security alert status to the highest level and double the number of soldiers deployed in the country.

It was the third attack in two months in France that authorities have attributed to Muslim extremists, including the beheading of a teacher. It comes during a growing furor over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were republished by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo – renewing vociferous debate in France and the Muslim world over the depictions that Muslims consider offensive but are protected by French free speech laws.

Other confrontations and attacks were reported Thursday in the southern French city of Avignon and in the Saudi city of Jiddah, but it was not immediately clear if they were linked to the attack in Nice.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would immediately increase the number of soldiers deployed to protect schools and religious sites from around 3,000 currently to 7,000. French churches have been ferociously attacked by extremists in recent years, and Thursday’s killings come ahead of the Roman Catholic All Saints’ holiday.

“He cried ‘Allah Akbar!’ over and over, even after he was injured,” said Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, who said a woman and a man died inside the church, while a second woman fled to a nearby bar but was mortally wounded. “The meaning of his gesture left no doubt.”

The assailant in Nice was wounded by police and hospitalized after the killings at the Notre Dame Basilica, less than a kilometer (half-mile) from the site in 2016 where another attacker plowed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing dozens of people.

Shots punctuated the air and witnesses screamed as police stationed at the grandiose doors to the church appeared to fire at the attacker inside, according to videos obtained by The Associated Press. Hours later, AP reporters at the scene saw emergency vehicles and police tape lining the wide Notre Dame Avenue leading toward the plaza in front of the basilica. For a time after the attack, sounds of explosions could be heard as sappers exploded suspicious objects.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the attack, the third one since a trial opened in September for people linked to the 2015 attacks at Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket by gunmen who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. The trial is nearing its end, with a verdict planned for Nov. 13, the fifth anniversary of another series of deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Thursday’s attacker was believed to be acting alone and police are not searching for other assailants, said two police officials, who were not authorized to be publicly named.

“With the attack against (teacher) Samual Paty, it was freedom of speech that was targeted. With this attack in Nice, it is freedom of religion,” Prime Minister Jean Castex told lawmakers Thursday.

Earlier, the lower house of parliament suspended a debate on France’s new virus restrictions and held a moment of silence for the victims. Castex rushed from the hall to a crisis center overseeing the aftermath of the Nice attack and later returned to announce the alert level increase. French President Emmanuel Macron, who has defended Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish the caricatures, arrived in Nice later in the day.

Muslims have held protests in several countries and called for a boycott of French goods in response to France’s stance on caricatures of Islam’s most revered prophet, whose birthday was marked in several countries Thursday. Soon before Thursday’s attack, supporters of religious political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam protested in Pakistan against Macron.

In Avignon on Thursday morning, an armed man was shot to death by police after he refused to drop his weapon and a flash-ball shot failed to stop him, one police official said. And a Saudi state-run news agency said a man stabbed a guard at the French consulate in Jiddah, wounding the guard before he was arrested.

Islamic State extremists had issued a video on Wednesday renewing calls for attacks against France.

Many groups and nations, however, issued their condolences Thursday, standing firmly with France.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith condemned the Nice attack and called on French Muslims to refrain from festivities this week marking the birth of Muhammad “as a sign of mourning and in solidarity with the victims and their loved ones.”

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the attack in Nice. “We stand in solidarity with the people of France against terror and violence,” the statement said.

Relations between Turkey and France hit a new low after Turkey’s president on Saturday accused Macron of Islamophobia over the caricatures and questioned his mental health, prompting Paris to recall its ambassador to Turkey for consultations.

The attack in Nice came less than two weeks after another assailant beheaded a French middle school teacher who showed the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad for a class on free speech. Those caricatures were published by Charlie Hebdo and cited by the men who gunned down the newspaper’s editorial meeting in 2015.

In September, a man who had sought asylum in France attacked bystanders outside Charlie Hebdo’s former offices with a butcher knife.

French Roman Catholic sites have been ferociously and repeatedly targeted by extremists in recent years, including the killing of the Rev. Jaqcues Hamel, who had his throat slit while celebrating Mass in his Normandy church by Islamic militants and a plot to bomb Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral. Those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group, which also is believed to have recruited a man now on trial who plotted unsuccessfully to attack a church on the outskirts of Paris.

Nice’s 19th-century basilica Notre Dame de l’Assomption is the largest church in the city, but smaller and newer than the cathedral 1 mile (2 kilometers) away. The basilica’s twin neogothic towers, standing 70 yards (65 meters) high, are a landmark feature in the heart of the city.

Burkina Faso: Gunmen Kill Pastor and 23 Others in Attack Near Church

Photo: RobertoVi

Burkina Faso: Security forces report 24 people, including a pastor, were killed by gunmen during an attack on a church on Sunday in the northwestern part of the country. 18 were injured in the attack and some were kidnapped by the gunmen who forced them to haul looted goods. Extreme violence against Christians in Burkina Faso has rapidly risen in the past year, including church attacks, abductions and assassinations of pastors and priests.

The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project claims over 1,300 people were killed in targeted attacks last year which is more than seven times the previous year. Insecurity has created a humanitarian crisis with more than 760,000 people who have fled their homes and now internally displaced. Source

Burkina Faso: 4 killed in another attack on a Catholic church

Ouagadougou (Agenzia Fides) – Four people were killed in an attack on a Catholic church in northern Burkina Faso, perpetrated on Sunday 26 May, in Toulfé, a village about twenty kilometers from Titao, the capital of the northern province of Loroum.

“The Christian community of Toulfe was the target of a terrorist attack gathered for Sunday prayers. The attack left four of the faithful dead”, the Bishop of Ouahigouya, Justin Kientega, said in a statement.

8 heavily armed individuals arrived in the village around nine in the morning, aboard four motorcycles. They entered the church where the Catholic community had just gathered to attend mass. Three people died immediately, while another died as a result of wounds. Some people were also injured.

Yesterday’s attack follows the attacks on Sunday 12 May against the parish of Dablo, during which an armed group killed Don Siméon Yampa and five faithful, and that of 13 May against a Marian procession in Singa, with the death of four faithful and the destruction of the statue of the Virgin. On 15 February 2019 during an attack at a checkpoint in Nohao, on the border with Ghana, Fr. Antonio César Fernández Fernández, a Spanish Salesian missionary was killed.

“Faced with this disturbing wave of violence that blows not only on Burkina Faso but also on Niger, Mali and Nigeria, we express our strongest condemnation and we want to assure our brothers and sisters affected by violence our solidarity, our prayer and our compassion. Holding our assembly here in Burkina, we wanted to give you a sign of our effective and emotional closeness”, wrote the participants in the third Plenary Assembly of Bishops of West Africa (RECOWA-CERAO) Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso  security source.

Suicide Bombers kill over 207 at Churches and Hotels in Sri Lanka, hundreds injured

(Voice of the Persecuted) It is with a heavy heart to report on Resurrection Sunday that a massacre has taken place targeting Christians who were attending worship services at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and Zion Church, in Batticaloa in Sri Lanka. At the time of this report, the latest update from police claim that at least 207 were killed and at least 450-500 injured in 8 explosions by suicide bombers at the churches, Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels. Viewer Warning: below video content graphic


The majority of casualties are Christians and the death toll and numbers injured are expected to rise. Earlier, the government said they suspected the suicide bombings were carried out by one group. Finance Minister, Mangala Samaraweera said,

The bombings are not the doings of a fanatical individual. It’s obviously a highly coordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem and anarchy in the country.

The Defence Minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, said seven people have been arrested in connection with the attacks. Three police officers were killed in an explosion during a raid pertaining to the attacks.

The government has temporarily blocked social media sites to prevent false news that’s spreading on social media sites. Officials claim the ban will be lifted when their investigations are concluded.

Please remember the injured and families of victims in your prayers, today. Continue to pray for persecuted believers worldwide.

UPDATE: 9:19 p.m. EST

Sri Lankan Defence Minister described the bombings as a terrorist attack by religious extremists, although there was no immediate claim of responsibility. — Thirteen people have been arrested.

News outlet Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported it had seen documents showing that Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches”.

“A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ [National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka] is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo,” the alert said, according to AFP.

Mr Wickremesinghe said there was not an adequate response and there needed to be an inquiry into how the information was used.
Read full abc.net.au report here

 

UPDATE: 4-22-2019 Sri Lanka officals: Islamic militants targeted Churches and Hotels

Gunmen kill Christian worshippers at Coptic church near Cairo

At least two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire outside a Coptic church south of Cairo on Friday, killing at least nine people in the latest attack on the country’s Christian minority. Read more

 

2 year old Child Dies From Injuries Sustained During Indonesian Church Attack

2 year old girl dies of injuries sustained during church attack.

2 year old girl dies of injuries sustained during church attack.

(Voice of the Persecuted) 2-year-old Ade Intan (Olivia) Marbun died early Monday morning after suffering significant injuries during an attack by an Islamic terrorist at a church on the island of Borneo, on Sunday. The toddler girl suffered horrific burns to the majority (78%) of her little body. Olivia’s respiratory system was also affected.

Three other children between the ages 2-4 are still being treated at the hospital with possibly one in critical condition.

Please pray for the injured children, their parents and Olivia’s grieving family.

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Jakarta Globe reports police have arrested five people in connection with a suspected militant attack on a church that killed one toddler and injured three. Authorities said they were investigating possible links to the Islamic State extremist group.

INDONESIA: Children Injured During Church Attack

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Voice of the Persecuted contacts in Indonesia are sending in reports that 4 children were wounded after a suspected terrorist threw molotov cocktails at the Oikumene Church in the city of Samarinda around 10am following the Sunday service. The injured children were immediately rushed to a hospital for treatment. Samarinda is the capital of the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.

Witnesses said a man passing on a motorbike threw a bag containing molotov cocktails that caused the explosion. The bombing is also reported to have caused damage to motorbikes in the parking lot.

Police have arrested the man, named Joh, alias  Jo Juhanda Aceng Kurnia bin Muhammad, 32, who threw who explosives. He was also wearing a t-shirt with the word ‘jihad’ on it.  The man had been staying at a mosque in the village Sengkotek, near Church Oikumene.

In 2012, the suspect had been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for terrorist bombings of the Research Center for Science and Technology in Tangerang in 2011. He was released in 2014. Indonesian news sources report Juhana had joined the group Jemaah Ansyarut Tauhid (JAT) established by Abubakar Ba’asyir—convicted of terrorism cases that have been pledged to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

Their is much concern about the rapid rise of radicalism with a large number of Islamic State sympathizers in Indonesia—the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

In August, an 18-year-old attacked a church in Medan and stabbed a Catholic priest after the bomb he was carrying failed to detonate.

Indonesian authorities started a multi-agency deradicalisation effort to reach the young and prevent early indoctrination of extremism, particularly from members of domestic terror groups loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

President Joko Widodo said of the Church Oikumene attack, “I have ordered the police chief to take firm action and thoroughly investigate the perpetrator” .

Please pray for Christians in Indonesia. They are asking the Lord to reveal His glory to them and their attackers.

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