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(L’OBSERVATOIRE DE LA CHRISTIANOPHOBIE) the growing concern of the Catholic and Protestant authorities about the persecution that Christians migrants suffer from Muslim migrants in Germany. Cardinal Rainer Woelki said at an ecumenical meeting in Düsseldorf Saturday 13 February, “The fear increases that politicians and the authorities do not take seriously enough such threats [against Christians in refugee centers]. The persecution of Christians is not a thing of past ages.” He demanded that Germany defend greater religious freedom. For his part, Pastor Gottfried Martens said the “harassment” against the Christian migrants in refugee centers in Germany has increased. He affirmed that Christians were forced to watch beheading videos, were banned from the common kitchen because they were”unclean”, beaten and Christian necklaces torn from their necks. The pastor suggested Christians and Muslims needed to be be housed in separate shelters. “When I talk to politicians, they tell me that the churches do not consider that necessary accommodations are separated and I look ridiculous (…) Our efforts to be tolerant, which is in itself praiseworthy, are not so far allow us to let Christians become a kind of guinea pigs. ” (Source: Catholic Herald , February 19)
Among the thousands of Middle Eastern migrants, Christians who have fled to Europe have discovered that a familiar burden has followed them, religious harassment = PERSECUTION.
World Watch Monitor reports that Christian migrants have been subjected to discrimination, harassment and violence from Muslim migrants with extremist views. One Iranian convert to Christianity was murdered.
The phenomenon has been observed in various locations across Europe, including in the camp of Grande-Synthe in northern France, where Iranian converts have been targeted by migrants from Iraq.
The situation has raised great concerns among local churches, which are now supporting migrants by supplying them with food, clothing, and, in some cases, even shelter.
It all started at the turn of the year, recalls Philippe Dugard, the Pastor of Église Evangélique du Littoral, or EEDL, a church in the neighbouring town of Saint-Pol-sur-Mer, which has spearheaded the relief effort in Grande-Synthe.
“Between November and December, there was a group of Iranians who confessed their belonging to Christ, who started to attend our church. Some were Orthodox, while others said they were Christians but were not truly converted. But we got to know them, and we felt they had a real spiritual thirst,” he said.
“And then one evening [14 December], we were informed that two of them were stabbed and the whereabouts of a third one was unknown.
“We then said that as Christians we cannot leave them alone in that situation, and the victims themselves told us that they no longer wanted to stay in the camp, as they felt threatened.”
The incident marked the beginning of EEDL’s support for migrant victims of persecution.
For the next few days, the victims were put up in hotels, before they were moved to a church in Dunkirk, the closest city to the camp.
Just one of the victims from the initial group remains, a 29-year-old who wished to remain anonymous.
“Generally the Kurdish mafia in the camp are against Christians,” he said. “When we gave our money to them for them to help us to go to England, they didn’t help us and they just stole our money and did not give it back. Then they attacked us and called us kafir [infidels] and dirty. They came and cut me with a knife and they beat my friends.”
He said there are still some Christians in the camp, but that many are too scared to speak about their faith.
“Yes, there are still some Christians there in the camp,” he said, “But they don’t prefer to stay there beside these strong Muslims. They are so racist, they just want to clear the camp to be without Christians.”
He added that a mosque has been created in the camp, and that the Call to Prayer resounds around the camp every day, but unlike the nearby Calais camp, there is no church.
An explosive cocktail
Located in the northwest of France, beside the English Channel, the camp of Grande-Synthe hosts around 2,500 to 3,000 migrants – mostly Kurds from Iraq and Syria, but also some Iranians.
Tensions and other forms of violence are common in the camp, said a social worker, who wished to remain anonymous for fear that the report could impact upon his work with the Christians.
Ethnic differences have created tension in the camp between the Iraqis and Iranians, of whom there are only around 50. The thousands of Iraqi Kurds are mostly Muslim, while some of the Iranian minority are Christians.
Some of them attend local churches secretly, because they are scared of the Muslim migrants and smugglers, who hold sway within the camp. Night raids, theft and violence are among the common threats.
On the night of 14 December, a knife attack left several Christians injured. One of them, a 19-year-old named Mohammad, was murdered. The local police were informed and an investigation is underway. Police did not respond to World Watch Monitor requests for information about the investigation.
A staff member at the Mayor’s office in Grande-Synthe said there is no security problem in the camp, which she said is open to external visitors. However, police now patrol the entrance.
On 26 January, a shooting between rival gangs of smugglers erupted, prompting a huge police deployment around the camp. Security checks are now carried out at the entrance of the camp, and visitors must acquire prior authorisation from the Mayor’s office.
There are some who fear members of the so-called Islamic State may be among the migrants, intent on radicalising other migrants and imposing Sharia inside the camp.
A settled tension
Two months after the attacks against the Iranian migrants, the tension has settled, according to Dugard.
The majority of the victims of the December attacks have moved on. Some managed to reach England, their preferred destination, while others, tired of waiting for a hypothetical crossing or because of a lack of financial resources, returned to Iran. Others have left for other European destinations, with the hope of reaching England another way.
“Sometimes they just won’t show up at dinner time, even though we have already laid the table,” said Dugard. “They are always in search of new routes because the passages via Calais and Dunkirk seem completely blocked.
“But in the meantime, other refugees, including moderate Muslims who heard about the support provided to the Iranians, have now arrived.”
A group of about 10 migrants, only one of whom professes a Christian faith, are currently staying in a church in Dunkirk. A non-religious Iranian in his 30s, who identified himself as Max, complained of the poor conditions and lax security of the camp. A fellow Iranian, a Muslim man in his 20s who identified himself as Farhad, agreed.
“The living conditions in the camp are deplorable,” he said. “It is no place for humans. It is very cold and people fall sick easily.”
Local churches are struggling to cope with the demands being placed upon them, as they seek to support migrants of all faiths and none.
What started as an emergency has become a long-term commitment, Dugard said.
“We are wondering: what is the best option for us? Do we have the spiritual, human and financial resources to continue this work, which is full-time social work?” he said.
“Yet the migrants are really suffering. They crossed a multitude of borders and faced various obstacles to get here, in the hope of a better life. But they realise that it is often hopeless to cross to England and have ended up living in precarious conditions often more difficult than in their countries.”
Those conditions could be improved if migrants exploring Christianity could do so safely, said Michel Varton, director of Open Doors France, part of a worldwide charity that supports Christians who live under threat because of their faith.
“Many Christians amongst the refugees are fleeing persecution and discrimination. They are already traumatised by their terrible experience in the Middle East,” Varton said. “Imagine their despair to realise that, once here in France, they are suffering the same discrimination and hate from fellow immigrants.
“The local churches have shown dedication to help the Christian refugees and those who are genuinely interested in the Christian faith. The authorities must allow them to have simple buildings where they can meet and worship God in security and make sure that values of freedom of belief reign in the camps. It’s totally unacceptable that someone could lose their life for their faith once in France.”
In addition to the lack of resources, there is a logistical problem, as different churches act without much coordination.
Moreover, various groups and associations from all over Europe are also providing assistance to migrants, which has only added to the pressure, said Dugard.
“If some groups are useful, others believe that they can save the world,” he said. “They often come with very aggressive speeches, for two to three days, and then leave. In the end, their actions are doing more harm than good, because after they leave it becomes difficult for us to do serious work.”
Talks are currently underway among churches, as they seek to create a regional platform, which would come underneath the umbrella of the Conseil National des Evangéliques de France, the national Evangelical Church network.
The Grande-Synthe camp stretches over 20 hectares (nearly 50 acres) of marshland. It is difficult to walk through the slippery mud without proper boots.
With thousands of people, including women and children, living in such unsanitary conditions, respiratory problems and infectious diseases are common, says Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), which provides emergency care alongside Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World).
According to MSF, a new camp, equipped with heated tents and located three kilometres from the current camp, will accommodate migrants in the coming days.
However, the migrant crisis remains a very complex issue, says Matthew Bosiger, the pastor of the Salvation Army Church in Dunkirk.
“They are a bit like in a prison,” he said. “It is good to try to improve their situation, but they have no plan to stay in France. The migrants have only one thought in mind: to cross the channel to England, at any cost.”
Many say they have relatives or friends already settled there and the living conditions seem very attractive – partly because many know a little English, but also because of the prospect of better economic opportunities. Smugglers take advantage of migrants’ desperation to reach the UK by charging them everything that they have, with no guarantee they will succeed.
Voice of the Persecuted shared last August how Christian refugees moved from asylum accommodation after threats by Islamists in Sweden. The Christians feared for their safety after it was demanded that they stop wearing Christian symbols, like crosses around their necks. And that they were not welcome in common areas, such as kitchens when the aggressive Muslim group was there.
After receiving no help when the atmosphere became intimidating, the Christian refugees dared not stay and decided it would be safer to find other accommodations.
(Voice of the Persecuted) Boko Haram, like ISIS, is seeking to establish an independent Islamic state in Nigeria. It’s been a year since the fishing town of Baga in northern Nigeria was targeted in the deadliest massacre in the history of Boko Haram. The Nigerian government claimed security forces quickly responded and even conducted air strikes against the militants who had killed around 2,000 people in the attack. Most attacks go virtually unnoticed outside Nigeria, but this attack garnered international media attention after it claimed so many lives.
If you don’t recall the attack, it may be due to the coverage of attacks in Paris at the the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, a year ago. Armed gunmen killed 11 people and injured 11 others in the building. After leaving, they killed a French National Police officer outside the building. Several related attacks followed in the Île-de-France region, where a further five were killed and 11 wounded. For weeks, the attacks in France dominated headlines and televised news reports. On 11 January, about two million people, including more than 40 world leaders, met in Paris for a rally of national unity, and 3.7 million people joined demonstrations across France. The phrase Je suis Charlie has become a common slogan of support at the rallies and in social media. But compared to the coverage and solidarity with Paris, Baga was barely a whisper.
More than two million people have been internally displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency, some report the number is higher. Aid reaching the victims is falling way short compared to the scale of the crisis. We can’t continue to ignore them any longer. Our silence as added to the acute suffering. We are the Church, we must do more when others will not.
Villagers recalled the aftermath of the attack—Hundreds of bodies, too many to count and scattered in the bush. There were even reports that some of the badly injured were left in the bush to die next to the dead. The majority of victims were women, children and the elderly too slow to escape the militants, common in many attacks across the northeast.
Baga was once a bustling trading center of 200,000 people. Today, approx. 700 remain and barely surviving in a place still under the threat of Boko Haram. Other villages have also remain desolate, as the insurgents lie in wait to ambush those who pass through or plan attacks on vulnerable villages.
During the Presidential campaigns, the now elected President Buhari said, “This scourge, this season of death must be brought to a complete stop.” He had promised Boko Haram would be eliminated by Dec 2015. Last month, the Minister of Information and Culture announced Buhari’s deadline to wipe out the militants had been met. Analysts and civilians are distressed by this claim. But recent attacks tell otherwise and they fear attacks will likely continue.
Despite the ongoing Boko Haram threat, President Buhari said last week, “In 2016, the return of the IDPs (internal refugees) will start in earnest. They will return to their communities to meet destroyed schools and other infrastructure which have to be rebuilt. We will welcome all the help we can get to assist the returnees.”
Experts warn Nigeria will be risking the lives of millions of displaced civilians by returning them to communities still extremely vulnerable to attack. Boko Haram is not defeated and still remains a deadly threat. One alarmed victim said,
Ongoing for 6 years, many no longer believe the government has the will or ability to end the murderous rampage of the Boko Haram. They’re in constant prayer and relying on God to rescue them. The distraught victim added, “God will help us.”
Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) is aiding an IDP camp caring for Christians who have faced incredible persecution. Nearly every person has lost loved ones at the hands of Boko Haram militants. The road ahead is long, both physically and emotionally.
Much help is needed to continue covering basic needs for persecuted families, orphans and widows in the camp, approx. 400 people. Your gifts make it possible to get food, clothing, medical needs/care and fresh water to the suffering. These brothers and sisters need our compassion. They are thankful for any help, so encouraged they’re not forgotten. Can you help these dear ones, today?
Well Project UPDATE:
We had recently asked for prayers concerning the construction of a temporary well to bring clean water to the camp. They have experienced an outbreak of Cholera coming from an overused, local water source. The ground was dry and very difficult. The engineers faced a lot of challenges about the location to drill the borehole, the first drilling collapsed. But now we’re in good shape, the well is nearly completed! A heartfelt thanks to all of you who prayed and gave for this project to allow us to aid in the construction of this much needed well.
Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
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
(Voice of the persecuted) Maiduguri, the capital of the Nigerian State of Borno, was hit by new attacks committed by Boko Haram on Sunday, September 20th. According to varying reports, between 54 to over 100 people were killed. Despite this, the inhabitants of the city who decided to escape the violence, are now returning.
Fr. Gideon Obasogie, the Social Communications Director of the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri in Nigeria, asked Voice of the Persecuted to share this message:
In an earlier interview with Vatican Radios English Service for Africa, Fr. Obasogie said “Most of our people are coming back to their communities”. Many towns, homes, schools, hospitals, bridges have been razed down by the bombs of Boko Haram. Generally life and movement in this part of Nigeria has been very difficult.
“A lot of our people are back, but they look sick, hungry and traumatised. “These communities need support. The Bishop of Maiduguri, Oliver Dashe Doeme, has taken the unusual step of sending priests to these same communities where security is far from certain. He wants the priests to accompany the people as they try to rebuild their lives”.
The ordination of three new priests in one of the communities that was bombed and ransacked by Boko Haram was a sign of hope. Despite fears of new attacks, the faithful who even come from distant places of the diocese went to the ordination Mass.
Fr. Obasogie says that against all odds, “The faith of the Church in this part of the country is truly growing. We appreciate all people of good will who have demonstrated their love and care towards the suffering Church of Maiduguri Diocese. Our people have come to experience greater faith than ever before. They hold on to their faith in their plight and difficulties. God is all we have now,” he emphasised.
He also relayed, “the Buhari administration is doing its best to end the insurgency. The military is advancing and recapturing those communities that were under the terrorists’ control. Despite this, a lot of people are still afraid of the presence of suicide bombers around the city and villages”.
Due to conflict, particularly in the north east by the Boko Haram insurgency, the humanitarian situation has become dire. The needed counter-insurgency has added to and may further increase the numbers of displaced people. Many husbands, wives and children have been separated unable to locate and unaware of their loved ones condition. Humanitarian needs are great. The displaced in the camp that Voice of the Persecuted is aiding has doubled in the last few months. There are many staying here who are unable to return to their completely razed villages, or areas still at risk of attacks.
Recently, deaths have been reported from a cholera outbreak at three nearby camps in the area. We thank God to report none at our camp were affected by the outbreak! To lessen the chance of disease, sanitation safeguards had been put in place and much effort made to keep the camp clean. We invite you to rejoice with us for the gift of life, new babies born at the camp! Raise these little ones up to the Lord, along with their families, the road ahead may be long and hard.
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.
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
As violence escalates, threats abound and body counts rise, we pour over reports from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon for the latest on the developments in in the fight against Boko Haram. We see nations joining together in this fight, governments accusing one another, allegations of corruption and all manner of evil being manifest. Threats of evil growing and threats to conform nations to world views.
What else are we witnessing? The faithful being led to slaughter as lambs. The heartbreaking grief of their families. The world with it’s watchful eyes, some in shock, some in fear, some in disbelief. We watch the faith of our brethren in the midst of evil, in spite of the fear they face. We see them crying out to the global community for help. Crying out to the world body of Christians for prayer.
In a report shared by BBC, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos said
“Brothers and sisters, there is no better time to storm the heavens with prayers and petitions than now.”
What we are seeing particularly in larger areas like Maidaguri is the wearing down of the Saints. How in their attempts to praise and thank God for His love and guidance, they are prevented from gathering in houses of worship. They are fearful not only for their lives, but for the life of their Nation. Neighboring countries have united and are beginning to combat this evil with reports that 300 Boko Haram have been killed just in the last hours. Recently, Maidaguri has come under attack with threats of being taken over by Boko Haram.
And as in this report that we received from Fr. Gideon Obasogie states, Christians in the capital city (Maidaguri) are really paying the price for their faith. Their movements are so restricted they cannot even have a sound gathering on a Sunday to thank God for his love thus far and most particularly to pray for peaceful elections. The threats and distractions have become totally unbearable. The ferocious attempt by the unrepentant radical Islamist militants, Boko Haram to overrun the capital city of Maiduguri has been very frightening. I wonder and sometimes I am forced to think aloud, when will this culture of savagery and bloodletting end. Is it that as a Nation we lack the inner capacity to abate it? With the recent waves of attacks, there is so much fear and tension in the air. With the Polls drawing ever close we see all sorts of personalities with well fashioned and designed promises too good to be taken as true; trooping into Maiduguri and the northeast, not to identify with us in our plight but to beg for our votes.
Nigerians are beginning to feel like pawns in a vicious lethal game, not knowing who to trust. It is very encouraging to know that neighboring governments are rallying together to combat this. But it’s discouraging that promises and visits from dignitaries are not addressing the plight of the millions that have been displaced in a blatant disregard for human life and dignity. We have reported that the refugee camps are grossly neglected. They are infiltrated with rebels from Nigeria to Yemen. Rebels use these camps as recruiting tools, even kidnapping, sex traffic and arms trades, with some reporting that there are sleeper cells living with the refugees. The camps are very dangerous causing many refugees to flee into the bush with out even the basic of supplies to sustain them.
We received a report from our contact who recently visited a refugee camp and the testimonies are heart wrenching. Sharing with the refugee’s what little they had, they were told this: “I have been here for 10 months without meat, produce, nor salt to put in our soups.” These precious people also said to pray hard for normalcy to returned to the Gwoza local government so that they can go back home. Others mirrored this request and testimony pleading to the Christians in Nigeria and abroad to continue to pray for them because they have no shelter or even a mat to sleep on. One father describes the tears his son sheds at night for simply an orange. In October of last year Fr. Gideon Obasogie reported that refugees in the thousands were eating grass to survive. This has also been reported by our contacts on the ground. The aid efforts are grossly inadequate, with many afraid to travel to the hardest hit areas. They ask prayers for the governments to return to normal. That statement alone stands out like the elephant in the room. What has happened? What evil has overtaken and infiltrated even the basic of government in this nation? This country can’t even guarantee the basics of safety to it’s residents.
The confusion of the people and the government is obvious in Fr. Obasogie’s report in his statement “If anyone needs our votes, our safety must first be assured.” Where is the UN, where is the world? The BRICS nations have been courting Africa for some time for it’s minerals, and oil, but where are they now when the people of Northern Africa suffer so much? It’s been said the US offered to train the military, but it’s unclear what happened, if it was rescinded or turned down. It’s been claimed that the US supplied drones to help look for the Chibok schoolgirls, but appears to have short lived. It’s also been said that the US is supplying intelligence, but that can’t be proven. France has a presence in the nation off and on, Chad, Cameroon and Niger are building troops, but where is the UN?
Maiduguri’s Christian population is at great risk. Maiduguri is the state capital and the seat of Government, with all its structures, with a high concentration of state population and the commercial nerve of the northeast. If it falls, the citizens will be more facile to radicalization. And the terrorists will have more conscripts. If it falls, we have only succeeded collectively in empowering the terrorists, recapturing it would take some time and the consequences apparently would be deadly.
Nigerian Christians are wearing down, their faith is great in the face of persecution, however their needs are also great. They need and deserve a government that will fight for them, fight for their rights, their dignity, their right to live in peace and prosper. And their right to worship Christ.
Pray for Nigeria. We will be lifting up Nigeria on our International Prayer Call ‘FIRE in FERUARY on Friday, Feb. 2oth. See details here
- Pray for leadership that will provide just & fair judgements. Leadership with a love for all Nigerians
- Pray for peace.
- Pray for Boko Haram to be defeated.
- Pray for normalcy to return to the lives of the people of Nigeria.
- Pray for comfort.
- Pray for strength and endurance.
- Pray for the lost in the country to be found in Christ.
Above all Nigeria know that Christians everywhere are with you, we are praying with and for you, we are suffering with you and we are watching. God is with you!
By C.Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst
Why Should The West Concern Itself With Elections In Nigeria? Read This « VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED
What Lies Ahead For Nigerian Christians And The Innocent Of Nigeria? Darkness Or Light? « VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED
Diffa is a city and Urban Commune in the extreme southeast of Niger, near that country’s border with Nigeria. It is the administrative seat of both Diffa Region, and the smaller Diffa Department. Diffa marks the eastern end of the paved section of Route Nationale 1, the main east west highway across Niger, although the section between Zinder and Diffa is only partially paved in places.
NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — The Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram escalated its attacks in neighboring countries Monday, as a car bomb exploded in one Niger town repeatedly targeted by the militants and residents said other fighters in Cameroon had abducted 20 people aboard a public bus.
Neighboring countries like Chad and Cameroon have joined together and sent forces to battle Boko Haram. Boko Haram recently released a video declaring that they could not be stopped specifically targeting Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The video asked for Muslims to denounce democracy and come to Sharia. There was a protest over the weekend in Cameroon by the people denouncing Boko Haram and supporting their troops to fight them. The governments have said that Boko Haram will be gone in 6 weeks. “They won’t be there. They will be dismantled,” Referencing the postponement of the elections until March. (More)
Those fleeing Boko Haram are desperate and overwhelmed.
There also has been fierce fighting in Maiduguri. According to NBC news in a recent report, 4 of the 5 roads leading into the city have been blocked by Boko Haram. Maiduguri has a population of about 2 million and is known for it’s trade. People are attempting to flee, but many can’t for the lack of money.
Deadly attacks by the militant group Boko Haram have put a stranglehold on one of Nigeria’s key cities, limiting supplies and sending prices skyrocketing amid mounting fears of a massacre. Four of the five roads out of Maiduguri have been blocked off by Boko Haram, which has mounted two large-scale assaults in the past 10 days on the city. The city is the birthplace of the insurgency and a potential jewel in the crown of the militants’ caliphate. (More)
Many residents fear it is only a matter of time before the city is overrun.
It’s very dangerous and difficult to verify reports with those on the ground. Some Facts about Maiduguri:
- Its residents are mostly Muslim including Kanuri,Hausa, Shuwa, Bura, Marghi, and Fulani ethnic groups. There is also a considerable Christian population.
- Muslim supremacists in the region have been mass murdering non-Muslims since the 60’s and 70’s, while members of religious sects led intercomunal violence in 1982 and 2001. But never on this scale and magnitude we are seeing now.
- On 18 February 2006, riots related to the Prophet Muhammad cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten left at least 15 people dead, and resulted in the destruction of approximately 12 churches.
- Maiduguri was also the scene of major religious violence throughout Northeast Nigeria committed by an Islamist group, Boko Haram, in July 2009, leaving over 700 people dead.
- Since 2009 the numbers have drastically increased. Those killed numbering in the tens of thousands and those displaced by them are over 1 million. The amount of territory they have ravaged and control has recently been described as the size of Belgium.
It’s impossible to know the suffering these people feel as they watch their lives, their homes, their towns overrun by evil approaching in the cover of darkness slaughtering, kidnapping and rape. One refugee camp has been evicted as they will need this camp for security forces coming in to monitor the elections. It has been said that the government gave them 60,000 N ($300.00) to go into town and rent a house. These people have not had adequate food for at least a month and now they are faced with eviction from a safe haven.
- Pray for God’s intervention.
- Pray for strength and courage for God’s people.
- Pray for Christ’s light to be shown to the attackers and for God to change their hearts of hate into hearts filled with love.
- Pray for God to show these precious soul’s fleeing that He is with them, and will guide them to peace.
C. Refsland/VOP Advocate/News Analyst
Islamic extremist threat reigns whether they remain or are repatriated.
KENYA (Morning Star News) – The Somali convert from Islam and his wife were holding each other under their bed in a Kenyan refugee camp as gunmen outside their door threatened to shoot.
Abukar Mohammed (surname withheld for security reasons), 36, suspected members of Somalia’s Islamic extremist Al Shabaab insurgency who lived in the camp near Dadaab were the ones pounding on the door and demanding he open it the night of April 27. The door was made of wooden poles, and the assailants could see through the gaps between them.
“Come out the door or we will kill you,” one of the assailants said.
“Who are you?” said Abukar, who became a Christian 19 years ago in one of the Dadaab refugee camps some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Somali border. “We are not opening the door.”
The attackers called him the Arabic and Somali words for infidel, “Kafir,” and “Gaal” respectively, then said, “We need your head.”
“The killers started shooting at us through the spaces between the poles and hit us on the legs,” Abukar told Morning Star News. “As were lying in great pain, I heard the attackers saying, ‘We have killed the infidels’ as they shot into the air while leaving.”
The couple was later found inside their home in a pool of blood. Two days later they were flown to Nairobi’s Kenyatta National Hospital, where they were treated for two months. They continued treatment at a rehabilitation center on the outskirts of Nairobi, but they are still nursing their injuries, and Abukar’s wife, still in great pain, must use a walking stick.
Abukar, who took on the nickname Ali after his conversion to Christ became known in the predominantly Somali Muslim refugee camp, recalled that the assailants spoke to neighbors outside his home before the assault, asking, “Is this the house of Ali, the Gaal?”
The Muslim operators of the camp could hardly be relied upon for security; indeed, Abukar said Kenyan security personnel assisted the gunmen in the assault.
The experience of this Christian couple – Abukar’s wife also a Somali convert from Islam – is just one example of dangers facing Christians in the Dadaab refugee camps, where an office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is based. Kenyan officials are increasingly trying to repatriate refugees to Somalia, where the threat of Al Shabaab violence awaits them. The Islamic extremist insurgents have vowed to rid Somalia of its underground Christians.
Abukar is one of many refugees who have spent a large part of their lives in the camps – a generation has known no other existence – and in that time concealing his faith became more difficult. He gained popularity as a distributor of food, some of it from a Christian aid organization, to underground Christian families for six months; he associated with an Ethiopian Christian; and he attended a fellowship run by Christian police in the camp.
He had come to Christ in the camp in 1995 under the influence of Canadian Baptist church workers; his wife (name withheld) converted to Christ in the camp in 2006. Childless, she suffered her third miscarriage while being treated for her wounds from the shooting, she said.
The two said they are in desperate need of help.
“We need medicine and food,” Abukar said. “We thank some few Kenyan Christians who once in a while come and see us.”
Another Somali convert from Islam, 48-year-old Abdikadir (surname withheld), saw Muslim relatives and other Somalis burn his home down in one of the undisclosed Dadaab refugee camps in April. He told Morning Star News that they took away his wife and four children in the course of destroying his home.
Like Abukar and his wife, Abdikadir is also a UNHCR-designated refugee; he managed to escape the attack in the camp and is now in hiding elsewhere. He came to Christ while still living in Somalia, and in Kenya his boldness in proclaiming Christ landed him in a Khadi (Islamic) civil court in Garissa under a charge of leaving Islam on March 22, 2013, he said.
“I could not deny my faith in Christ,” he said. “I stood firm with my conviction that Jesus is my Lord and Savior,” he said.
He escaped retribution, but he and other Somali underground Christians in Kenya live in constant fear of Kenya’s repatriation efforts.
“We appeal to the churches in Kenya to protect us and speak of our situation, lest we are taken back to Somalia only to be killed as we try to provide for our basic needs,” he said. “We also appeal to international community to give us asylum abroad.”
In previous reports, we looked at the refugee camps in Syria. But the refugee camps in Africa are just as wretchedly miserable. The recent CAR conflict has left thousands displaced. The exact numbers are cloudy, but are starting to surface. The entire region in Southern and Central Africa are in crises and the fighting continues. Other news agencies are reporting that the weapons movement to this region has a fairly easy road from Libya and other countries. Christian Persecution is at an all time high. Wanting nothing but peace and normalcy, innocent children are the ones who suffer the most, as they tell us in this touching video below.
News agencies and Christian organizations report that the refugees are living in deplorable conditions “like animals.”
They claim that pastors are in dire need, attempting to worship amidst the difficulties. Through it all, they continue to demonstrate great faith and strength.
Sky News is reporting on the horrific conditions for those caught in the CAR conflict. They witnessed a teenage girl go into labor. She had been raped by the Seleka, and gave birth in squalid conditions, while mid wives tried to help her by forcing the baby. (From Sky News Click to watch video, *Graphic*)
France 24 reported in October of last year that those fleeing the Seleka were flooding a Catholic Mission in Bossangoa, mostly women and children. The men were afraid to leave the mission for fear of being picked up by the Seleka and accused of being part of a militant group. The women were left to scrounge for food, and still had to pay bribes and face rape and torture.
Interim President Djotodia has been removed from office and it is said the Seleka are being disbanded. But these people have lost their homes, their families and everything they had. Most of the children have lost their security. There have been reports that the Seleka will still retaliate if they don’t agree with the new government. An apparent vicious circle. Today, Yahoo news is reporting that fresh acts of violence has broken out. They say there is violence everywhere and it will get worse as the deadline to the election closes in. It’s far from over for these beleagured, war weary people. How much more can they endure? (More)
Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are facing similar trials. There are thousands fleeing from Sudan into UN humanitarian camps. It has been reported that human trafficking has become the new black market and is prospering. Those fortunate enough to scrape money together and are strong enough to flee, are met on the roads by bandits and human traffickers. From this map you can see how easy it is for them to traffic arms and people.
According to Caritas the number fleeing Sudan has grown by leaps and bounds:
We can see this war in Sudan is no different than the conflict happening in CAR. Warring tribal leaders and government’s driven by greed over control of mineral and oil rich lands, force innocent people into extreme suffering.
Two weeks ago, Sudan was reported as the youngest South African country. Today it is possibly the next Rwanda. Again we see an oil rich country that has it’s government fighting for control with the rebels, while the citizens are caught in the middle. Some say ‘It’s a resource wealth coveted by global powers.’ So again, at the expense of people wanting nothing more than to rebuild their shattered lives in peace. (More)
Here too, we see the world turns a blind eye, and as in the past–world leaders turn their heads. What is the answer? Start with awareness. Help us to raise awareness of this and other humanitarian crises. Share these reports, talk about them, write to your representatives. Talk to your Pastor’s and church leaders, your prayer groups. Keep praying for those persecuted and those caught in this ethnic and sectarian violence.
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)
Report by: VOP Advocates, C.Refsland / L.Kanalos
Article may be reprinted with link to original report and credit to VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED.
Africa: A Sinister Plot Behind The Massacre In CAR (Voice Of The Persecuted)
WARNING: Brink of Catastrophe – Central African Republic (Voice Of The Persecuted)
Bishop: Sudan’s Christians Are ‘On the Cross’ Daily (Voice Of The Persecuted)