4 Christians murdered in Egypt after being framed (ICC) 

(ICC) 07 August 2013 - In one of the most explosive outbreaks of sectarian violence since the June 30 protest in Egypt, four Christian men were killed and others were hospitalized. These life threatening injuries, from being stabbed and beaten, occurred after a mob of Muslims stormed their homes. In addition to the dead and wounded, more than 27 Christians’ homes were looted and destroyed by the mob. Despite repeated calls from local residents and religious leaders, the security forces did little to intervene on behalf of the Christians in the village of Nagaa Hassan in Al-Dabaiya, near Luxor Egypt.

Christian Framed for the Death of a Muslim

The violence started in the early morning hours of Friday, July 5, when the body of a 48 year old Muslim man Hassan Sidqi Hanafi was discovered in front of the home of Magdi Eskender, a Christian.

Accounts differ regarding the circumstances surrounding the killing, with one account claiming that Hassan was accused of adultery and beaten to death. After his passing on Thursday, July 4, his two brothers took the body and placed it near the houses of some Christians.  They then accused a Christian, Sobhi Magdi Eskander, 18, of killing Hassan. At dawn on Friday, Eskander was beaten with clubs and stabbed before escaping from his assailants, reported the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).  Then, Thursday night, Hassan’s two brothers

Fr. Basilyos Naim, of Mar Youhana Church in Al Dabaiya, said, “The brothers of Hassan wanted to let the people know that their brother was killed by Christians because Hassan had some Christian friends in this village.” 

While the exact details are not entirely clear, the blame was quickly put on the Christians and violence erupted.

Security Forces Abandon Christians during Attacks

After discovering the body of Hassan, “the Muslim fanatics, Muslims Brotherhood in this village and from the villages close to this village seized this opportunity to take revenge from the Christians. So they attacked the Christians, burnt and looted more than 27 homes,” ICC’s contact reported.

By 5:00 am, Fr. Naim was alerted that several hundred local Muslims carrying firearms, bladed weapons and tools, shouting hostile chants, were beating on the doors of Christian homes. He hurried to open the doors of the church to offer a place of refuge.

Fr. Naim told ICC he repeatedly asked local security forces to step in to protect the Christians. However, the security forces did nothing to stop the violence, saying they needed to wait for reinforcements.

The attacks escalated throughout the day, as “the Muslim Brotherhood seized this opportunity and attacked the Christians in this village to take revenge from them because of the removal of Morsi,” Fr. Naim said.

While the crowds encircled the houses of Nashi Habib and Rassem Tawadros, a few women trapped inside were able to escape and were taken to the Mar Yuhanna Church. However, security forces refused to help the men to safety, according to a report from Amnesty International.

Four Christians Killed, Houses Destroyed

As a result of the attacks, four Christians were killed: Romani Nashi Habib, age 38, Muharib Nashi Habib, age 40, father of 3,  Rassem Tawadros Aqladios, age 54, father of 5 adult daughters, and Emile Nessim Serufim, age 40, father of 3.

Girgis Nashi Habib spoke with ICC’s contact about the death of his brothers Romani and Muharib.  “What happened was a terrible thing.  I cannot believe that I lost my two brothers and we lost our home, everything.I, my family, and the families of my two brothers are staying at the Church now because there is no longer a home for us. Our homes were destroyed," Girgis told ICC’s contact.

Emile Nessim, who was killed in Nagga Hassan, was a member of the opposition group Tamarod which collected more than 22 million signatures calling for Morsi’s removal. His activism may have been the reason that the rioters came to his house, burned it down, and killed him.

Emile’s family and his brother’s families are also living at the church while they try to rebuild or find a new place to live. Fr. Naim told ICC that as of July 17th seven families were staying at Mar Yuhanna Church as a result of the violence.

According to the report from EIPR at least 21 homes were damaged in the attacks and nearly 100 families have been displaced from their homes.

Christians Targeted in Revenge for Speaking Out

The Christian community is a ‘soft target’ in Egypt, said Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, president and founder of the advocacy group Voice of the Copts. “The Muslim Brotherhood is pointing the finger at Copts and claiming Copts were behind removing Morsi,” Ramelah told ICC.

The Coptic community, which accounts for roughly 8-10 percent of Egypt’s 85 million citizens, was not the only group to call for Morsi’s removal. There were people from all segments of society – Muslim, Secularists, Christians – in the streets calling for him to leave.

Though the result for Emile and his family is tragic in this instance, the decision for Christians to engage in society and work to make a better Egypt for all citizens is a promising sign.

Bishop Thomas of the El-Qussia and Mair Diocese, in Upper Egypt, told ICC, “in the past it used to be said that the Christians were withdrawing.” This attitude is changing, he told ICC.

You have seen in the last demonstrations that lots of Christians were involved. Lots of them are sharing in this. This is something great. People will now start to feel like this is our land. We need to stay. We need to continue. We are not weak, but we are strong enough to stand up for our faith, for our life,” he told ICC. 

“Even though we are facing problems or we are targets for some violence. But that doesn’t mean that we stay away. This outspoken attitude is a new way that the Christians are to take,” said Bishop Thomas.

While this outspokenness may make Christians the targets of violence for those who promote hate and division, it also gives them a voice in working to create a better Egypt for all of its citizens.


(ICC)  http://www.persecution.org/2013/08/06/four-egyptians-killed-in-outbreak-of-sectarian-violence/

Christian dies in Eritrea after being imprisoned for his faith (MNN)

(MissionN etworkNews) 18 July 2013 - Open Doors USA recently learned about the death of another Christian in an Eritrean prison.

Yosief Kebedom Gelai, a recently converted single Christian, died in Medefera July 5.

Sources told Open Doors that Yosief, 41, had been sick for a long time, but that the harsh treatment at a secret Medefera incarceration center aggravated the effects of the unknown disease.

Eritrea ranks #10 on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries with the worst persecution of believers. Yosief is the 24th reported death connected to punishment for religious activities outside of the government-sanctioned Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church, and Islam.

However, because of the government's secrecy surrounding prisoners and denied access to watchdog organizations, there may be many more deaths and burials that have not been reported.

Yosief was originally from Asmara. He went to Mendefera to teach at a primary school some time prior to his arrest. Six months after his arrival, Yosief came to faith in Christ. His devotion to Bible study and prayer caught the attention of representatives of the ruling Eritrean People's Front for Democracy and Justice (EPRDF) at the school.

Authorities arrested him in December and took him to the secret incarceration center in Mendefera where he was kept incommunicado. Sources told Open Doors the center holds many other religious prisoners whose whereabouts were previously unknown to family members and churches.

"Christians should be hugely encouraged to see how God through His Holy Spirit enables His children even new--and isolated ones like Yosief--to remain firm in their devotion to Christ no matter the circumstances," commented an Open Doors team member.

Please pray for other Christians incarcerated in Eritrean prisons. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give believers strength and peace.


(MNN) http://www.mnnonline.org/article/18764

Coptic priest killed because pope supported Morsi ousting in Egypt (CP)

(ChristianPost) 08 July 2013 - Masked men shot dead a Coptic priest and other attacks on the minority group were reported in Egypt after the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who is from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood that now appears to be seeking revenge from Christians for allegedly supporting the "coup."

The priest, identified as Mina Aboud Sharween, was shot dead in the coastal city of El Arish in North Sinai Governate on Saturday.

Gunmen, believed to be from the Brotherhood, came on a motorcycle and killed the 39-year-old priest, according to the local news site Egypt Independent.


On Friday, unidentified gunmen also attacked security personnel at checkpoints in North Sinai, killing five police officers and a soldier, according to Reuters.


Also on Friday, a Coptic Christian, identified as Magdy Iskandar Farid, was injured and houses and shops belonging to Christians were burned near the al-Dabe'iy area in southern Luxor Governorate. The attack followed rumors that Copts had killed a Muslim man, according to AINA news agency, which also reported that hundreds of Coptic Christians have fled the area.

Local resident were quoted as saying that the slain Muslim may have been killed by Islamists to create sectarian tensions.


(ChristianPost)  http://www.christianpost.com/news/egypts-coptic-priest-killed-in-renewed-attacks-on-christians-after-morsis-ouster-99525/

Christian murdered by Al Shabaab in Somalia (MSN)

(MSN) 25 June 2013 -  Islamic extremists from the rebel Al Shabaab in Somalia earlier this month publicly shot a young man to death after identifying him as a Christian, sources said.

The insurgents in Jamaame district in southern Somalia had been monitoring 28-year-old Hassan Hurshe since his arrival from a Kenya in 2010 and determined that he had become a Christian while in Kenya, said area Muslim sources whose names are withheld for security reasons.

Al Shabaab members on June 7 brought Hurshe to a public place in the town of Jilib and shot him in the head, they said.

“Many people watched this horrible action, including women and children,” said a witness.

Another area resident independently confirmed this account of the execution. A leader of the Somali underground church in Kenya who had also heard of the murder said Hurshe converted to Christianity in 2006, married in 2008 and fathered a baby boy in 2009.

The family left for Jilib, a town of about 45,000 in the Middle Juba Region, in the latter part of 2010 to visit family and start a small food shop, the source said.

Somalis are considered Muslim by birth, and apostasy, or leaving Islam, is punishable by death. After the execution, Hurshe’s parents, widow and son fled the area, a local resident said.

Many Somali members of Christian fellowships in Kenya have returned to Somalia after formation of a Somali government on Aug. 20, 2012, which replaced the Transitional Federal Government. Somali government troops backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces have retaken large swathes of territory from the rebels.

Al Shabaab, said to have ties with Al Qaeda terrorists, has vowed to rid Somalia of Christians, who meet secretly due to persecution.

The insurgents have lost control of several areas of Somalia since Kenyan military forces helped to dislodge them in the past year, but they are suspected in the shooting death of a Christian pharmacist on the outskirts of Kismayo in February. Two masked men killed Ahmed Ali Jimale, a 42-year-old father of four, on Feb. 18 as he stood outside his house in Alanley village (see Morning Star News, Feb. 28).

On Dec. 8, 2012 in Beledweyne, 206 miles (332 kilometers) north of Mogadishu, gunmen killed a Christian who had been receiving death threats for leaving Islam. Two unidentified, masked men shot Mursal Isse Siad, 55, outside his home, Muslim and Christian sources said (see Morning Star News. Dec. 14, 2012).

Siad and his wife, who converted to Christianity in 2000, had moved to Beledweyne from Doolow eight months before. The area was under government control and there was no indication that the killers belonged to the Al Shabaab rebels, but the Islamic extremist insurgents were present in Buulodbarde, 20 kilometers (12 miles) away, and Christians believed a few Al Shabaab rebels could have been hiding in Beledweyne.

In the coastal city of Barawa on Nov. 16, 2012, Al Shabaab militants killed a Christian after accusing him of being a spy and leaving Islam, Christian and Muslim witnesses said. The extremists beheaded 25-year-old Farhan Haji Mose after monitoring his movements for six months, sources said (see “Morning Star News, Nov. 17, 2012).

Mose drew suspicion when he returned to Barawa, in the Lower Shebelle Region, in December 2011 after spending time in Kenya, according to underground Christians in Somalia. Kenya’s population is nearly 83 percent Christian, according to Operation World, while Somalia’s is close to 100 percent Muslim.


(MSN)  http://morningstarnews.org/2013/06/islamic-extremists-in-somalia-kill-christian/

Christian pastor murdered in Nigeria (MSN)

(MSN) 17 May 2013 - Gunmen believed to be members of the Islamic extremist Boko Haram group yesterday killed the Rev. Faye Pama Musa, secretary of the Borno state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). He was 47.

The gunmen reportedly followed the long-time Christian leader from his church building, where he was holding an evening Bible study, to his house in the Government Reservation Area in Maiduguri, and shot him dead there, said the Rev. Titus Dama Pona, chairman of CAN's Borno chapter.
“Rev. Faye Pama was killed last light,” Pona said this morning by phone from Maiduguri, the state capital. “I am right now with his family, and they are still consulting on what next to do.”
The assailants reportedly dragged the pastor from his home and shot him outside, in front of this daughter, who had followed them out pleading for his life. Pama was the father of three children.
Senior pastor of a Pentecostal church, Rhema Assembly, Pama often spoke out against persecution of Christians in Borno state, epicenter of Boko Haram attacks in northeastern Nigeria. He had been involved in ministry leadership for more than 26 years.
The shooting happened within an hour of President Goodluck Jonathan declaring a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, allowing the government to send more troops and take other special measures to try curbing violence by Boko Haram. The group has reportedly killed more than 4,000 persons since 2009, and the state of emergency comes after a gun battle between the military and Boko Haram in Baga, Borno state last month that some say took more than 100 civilian lives.
In a 2007 interview, Pama had said that he would not leave Borno state in spite of the danger to his ministry and life from Islamic extremists.
“I am an indigene of Borno state, and God has called me to work among my people,” he said. “I believe that the best people who reach a people with the gospel are those who understand the culture of these people.”
Pama believed that only by showing love to Muslims could they be won to Christ, “and not through fighting.”
An outspoken critic of the marginalization of and discrimination against Christians, Pama began preaching first with a Pentecostal ministry in Maiduguri, the Word of God Mission, in 1996, before he left to start Agape Ministries and planted Rhema Assembly. Rhema Assembly has an associate pastor and about 200 members.
He once served as secretary of Borno state’s chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.
President Jonathan had also imposed a state of emergency in 2011 on 15 areas within four states in embattled northern Nigeria, with little success. Boko Haram, which the Borno governor says threatens to take control of the state, seeks to destabilize the federal government in an effort to impose strict sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria.
Boko Haram has attacked Christians particularly in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, destroying Christian-owned businesses as well as harming churches. Many Christians have fled as displaced persons or become refugees in Cameroon. 
Suspected members of the Islamic extremist group also attacked a police barracks on the outskirts of Bama Town, Borno state early on Sunday (May 12), according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. CSW reported that insurgents arrived shouting Allahu Akbar [God is greater]” before launching explosives and fuel bombs, and the army dispersed them before lives were lost. The previous week, according to CSW, some 200 Islamic militants attacked Bama Town, killing 47 people.


(MSN)  http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=7ec6d7eb2533a90581f839110&id=d85debaa1b&e=4dd4dd3cf1

Children orphaned after Somali militants murder their parents (BNL)

(BNL) 30 April 2013 - Christians in Somalia feared more violence Monday, April 29, after Islamic militants reportedly killed the widow of a Christian who was slain for his faith in December, leaving the couple’s five children orphaned.

Fighters of the Islamic al-Shabab group shot 42-year-old Fartun Omar to death on April 13 in Buulodbarde, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the central Somalian city of Beledweyne, local Radio Shebelle reported. The militants had been searching for her for several months, as they knew that she was a secret Christian, the network said.

Due to the threat of persecution, Omar on April 10 decided to leave Beledweyne by bus with another neighbor to seek refuge with relatives, Christian news agency Morning Star News reported.

On reaching Buulobarde, which is controlled by al-Shabab, militants at a roadblock allegedly ordered passengers to disembark and questioned them one by one, locals said.

"Unfortunately, she was not cleared by the al-Shabab,” explained a neighbor who accompanied her. “I only heard one of them saying, ‘This is the woman whose husband was killed last year. Do not let her in.’"

The other passengers were allowed to board again, and the bus left, with Omar’s neighbor suddenly responsible for caring for her children. The oldest is a 15-year-old girl.

“On April 13, I received news from Beledweyne that a woman in Buulobarde had been killed by the Al-Shabab,” the neighbor said. “Soon I found out that it was Fartun Omar.”

Locals said Omar was found dead on the outskirts of Buulobarde with bullet wounds to her right side. “The children are in safe hands, and I am trying to look for some of the relatives of Omar,” the neighbor was quoted as saying. “The only problem that I am experiencing at the moment is that the small children are crying for their mother.”

It comes amid concerns about the whereabouts of another Christian convert who was captured and reportedly tortured by Islamic militants in Somalia remained missing amid fears he may have died.

Four fighters of al-Shabab abducted Hassan Gulled, 25, on March 23, after monitoring him for several weeks, local Christians said. He was thought to be held at an al-Shabab base in Bulo Marer, Somalia.

Christian rights activists said Gulled traveled to Somalia from neighboring Kenya on February 27 to visit family, BosNewsLife reported earlier.

Gulled is one of many Somali refugees risking traveling to Somalia since a new government was established following victories over al-Shabab, by African Union peacekeepers.

Despite the reported attacks there may be at least 1,000 devoted Christians in the country, according to well-informed Christian groups, but experts say an exact figure is difficult to get as many pretend to be Muslims for fear of retribution.

Al-Shabab says it fights for a state based on harsh Sharia, or Islamic law, and believes Somalis are born Muslims by default. Somalis found practicing another religion, are considered guilty of apostasy, which carries the death penalty under al-Shabab's strict interpretation of Islamic law.


(BNL)  http://www.bosnewslife.com/28054-somalia-militants-kill-christian-widow-5-children-orphaned

18 Christians murdered in Nigerian village (MSN)

(MSN) 25 April 2013 -  Hosea Mashaf was resting in his village of Chirang Mangor, Nigeria, when area Christian youths told him that armed, Muslim Fulani herdsmen were attacking the Christian village of Mile Bakwai.

The 45-year-old farmer and other Christians rushed to Mile Bakwai, three kilometers away in the Bokkos Local Council Area of Plateau State, the night of March 27 to see how they might aid the Christians there, he told Morning Star News.

“When we got there, the gunmen had already retreated,” Mashaf said. “I saw dead bodies scattered all over the village. I counted the dead bodies we recovered, and in all we had 18 Christians who were killed by the Muslim attackers.”

They found five of those bodies in a minibus, he said.

“They were travelling in a bus back to our village when they ran into the attack going on at Mile Bakwai village,” Mashaf said. “They were killed by the attackers when they shot at the bus, which crashed into a building, but the attackers went to the place where the bus was and shot the occupants. Five of them were killed, while two others were injured.”

Dead were Geofrey Mafuyai, 35; Mahana Jamok, 50; Arandon Yusuf, 18; Dung Dalyop, 38; and, Mbata Machif, 36. Maju Mahana, 25, and Nanle Enoch, 18 were wounded and received treatment at the ECWA Evangel Hospital in Jos, he said.

“At about 8 p.m. the attackers, all Muslim Fulani herdsmen, came into this village in two separate groups, attacking us from two different directions, and shooting down anyone they saw,” he said. “They came from the northwestern end of the village, and then separated into two groups with one of the groups attacking from the western end, while the second group attacked from the eastern end.”The 18 slain were members of Nigerian Baptist Convention, Christ Apostolic Church and Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) congregations, sources said. The Rev. James Danladi Mahwash of the Bishara Baptist Church in Mile Bakwai village said five of his church members were killed, including the financial secretary of the Men’s Missionary Union of his church, 25-year-old Jamle Benjamin Sunday.

Besides Sunday, Mahwash said, among those killed were Kokiwo Malo, 65; Maren Galadima, 18; Gambo Geofrey Mafuyai, 45; Adamu Maren, 55; Zoron Adamu, 10; Maren Garba, 20; Danladi Mangar, 20; Joel Peter, 20; Boaz Masara, 20; Oge Emeka, 5; and one identified only as Jang from the neighboring village of Kunet.

The assailants also burned the houses of three Christians – Malo Kabu, Marion Bitrus and Mapu Daniel – in Mile Bakwai, “Seventh Mile” in the Hausa language as it is about seven miles from the main mining camp at Tenti village. Mile Bakwai is a former mining camp in the rocky hills of the Jos Plateau, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Jos.

In several previous attacks, the herdsmen robbed the 150-member church of about 211,000 naira (US$1315), Mahwash added.

“We believe that our attackers are Muslim Fulani herdsmen,” he said. “We know they have been attacking Christian communities in rural areas across central Nigerian states. We are not happy about this and feel that the Nigerian government has to do something urgently to curtail these attacks in order to save lives and restore peace in the northern part of this country.”


(MSN)  http://morningstarnews.org/2013/04/attack-in-nigeria-that-killed-18-christians-caps-two-years-of-islamic-aggression/

Seven dead in central Nigeria attack (GP)

(Global Post) 10 April 2013Clashes between rival ethnic groups in central Nigeria killed seven people at the weekend, the latest flare up in a conflict that has left at least 66 people dead in three weeks, the military said Tuesday.

Plateau state, which falls on the dividing line between Nigeria's mostly Muslim north and predominately Christian south, has been racked for more than a decade by ethnic violence fuelled by land and political disputes.

"Seven people were killed in the attack at (the central) Langtang area of the state over the weekend," the military spokesman in Plateau, Captain Salisu Mustapha told AFP.

He said the suspected gunmen were members of the mostly Muslim Fulani ethnic group, made up largely of nomadic herdsmen.

The violence continued in another area on Monday when purported Fulani attackers razed several homes and fired weapons, but no one was killed, Mustapha added.

The Fulani have been blamed for scores of attacks on Christians in the state, who are mainly farmers.

Plateau's Christian ethnic groups see themselves as the state's indigenous people and hold greater land ownership and political rights. They have accused the Fulani of trying to steal wide swathes of land.

Fulani leaders have said their tribesmen are the victims of unequal treatment from the state's mostly Christian political leaders.

The conflict is estimated to have killed 4,000 people since 2001, according to the International Crisis Group.

At least 23 people, including both Fulani and Christian settlers, were killed in clashes on March 20 and 21, while 36 others died in violence over the last weekend of March.

Dozens of houses were also burnt in the violence last month.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, with more than 160 million people. The religiously divided central states were once hailed as an example of peaceful co-existence.



Christian Church leader beaten to death in Vietnam (ICR)

(InternationalChristianResponse) 31 March 2013 -  A Hmong church leader in Vietnam has been beaten to death in police custody, area sources said.


Police beat Vam Ngaij Vaj around his neck and shoulders and likely used electric shock on him, resulting in his death on March 17, said a church leader who spoke with those who viewed the battered corpse.


“They think he could have been electrocuted as well as beaten,” said a Hmong Christian leader in Vietnam.


Vaj, of Cu Jut District, Dak Nong Province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, and his wife were clearing brush from their field in nearby Dak Ha Commune of Dak Glong District when they were arrested for “illegally destroying the forest” on March 16. Hmong churches in the Central Highlands often report harassment by a communist regime that views Christianity as a threat, and the spurious charge of “destroying forest” on their own property was consistent with such harassment.


The husband and wife were transported to a police station in Gia Nghia Town and placed in separate cells, Christian sources said. That night Vaj was savagely beaten and tortured by police, the sources said, and the next day local authorities informed his younger brother that he had died.


This news came as a shock as Vaj, in his late 30s, was in excellent health, the sources said. They added that the killing terrorized the Hmong Christian community.


Police informed Vaj’s younger brother that an autopsy would be performed, and officers subsequently announced that he had died from electric shock by placing his hand in an electrical outlet.


A photo of Vaj’s neck and shoulders show signs of severe trauma. Those who saw the corpse said they suspected electric shock had been used, consistent with the announced cause of death.


Hmong Christians and their leaders believe such ill-treatment comes because they are Christians. Since the mid-1990s, more than 35,000 Christian Hmong have fled their native area in Vietnam’s Northwest Mountainous Region to the Central Highlands, some 800 miles south, because of pressure and persecution from authorities and sometimes from Hmong animists.


Conditions have not been much better for some who moved to the new area. Pushed to marginal lands, the migrating Christian Hmong with great effort carved out fields, built shelters, and planted crops. It was the experience of many that just when the first crops were ready for harvest, they would be expelled on one pretext or another and have to repeat the back-breaking process.


Local authorities or military officers then sold the confiscated, newly-developed land to ethnic Vietnamese settlers or to large agricultural companies.


The many indigenous ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, collectively called Montagnards, have long seen their traditional lands confiscated with no compensation or recourse. Mass protests that erupted against land grabs and religious persecution in the Central Highlands a decade ago were brutally crushed by the military. An estimated 100 Montagnard Christian men still languish in northern prisons for their participation in those protests.


Vaj’s body was eventually released to the family, and the church arranged a funeral and buried Vaj on March 21. Vaj’s family members belong to a Hmong Protestant congregation in Cu Jut District, where he served as a church elder. This congregation belongs to the government-registered Evangelical Church of Vietnam (South), Vietnam’s largest Protestant body.


In sending out this news about the murder, Hmong Christian leaders risked their welfare by asking for international intervention in hopes of some justice. Their own denominational leaders, they said, were too timid or afraid to advocate for them.


(ICR)  http://christianresponse.org/index.php?page=news

Eritrean Christian dies in prison after medical was refused (CN)

(CN) 31 March 2013 - Another Christian has died while in detention in Eritrea, Open Doors learned last week.

This report follows several others in recent months. Sources reporting the death indicated that about 45 other believers are held in horrendous circumstances in dungeon-like cells at Ala. They are enduring severe military punishment because they are unwilling to stop their Protestant religious practices.

Open Doors also received reports that indicate the government's continuation of an extensive arrest campaign against Christians, which started at the beginning of the year. This month, the government conducted sweeping arrests of 125 Christians in Barentu.

Of the most recently reported deaths, Belay Gebrezgi Tekabo, whose age is unknown, died at Ala Military Camp, about 20 miles from the southern Eritrean town of Dekemhare. He was arrested last April in the military training camp for "praying and reading his Bible."

Belay endured severe military punishment during his incarceration for his continued religious activities. He was diagnosed with leukemia six months prior to his death, but officials told him he could only go to the Dekemhare hospital for treatment if he was willing to sign a recantation statement.

On Saturday, March 16, police officers arrested 17 Christians in Keren while they were together at the home of one of those arrested. The group included six female students. They are kept at the Keren Police Station. Although it is customary for family members to take food to relatives in prisons, officers are not allowing anyone to visit this group.

In 2002, the Eritrean government banned all Christian denominations except the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Lutheranism. With the exception of Sunni Islam, all other religious practice was banned.

The government also decreed that non-registered groups could not gather in numbers of more than five. No new churches have been registered since 2002. Security forces continue to disrupt private worship, conduct mass arrests at prayer meetings and other gatherings, and detain those arrested for indefinite periods without charge.

At last estimates, at least 3,000 Christians are imprisoned in Eritrea and, say Voice of the Martyrs sources, nearly every evangelical has been arrested at least once. Most are never formally charged and never receive a court hearing. Prisoners are tortured and subjected to extremely poor living conditions, often locked in metal shipping containers or underground bunkers. Several have died in custody.

Pray that those who've been arrested would remain steady in their faith in Christ. Many have fled across the borders, but pray for boldness for those Christians remaining in Eritrea.


(CN)  http://www.charismanews.com/world/38872-persecuted-christian-dies-in-eritrean-prison

Egyptian Christian dies in Libya after being tortured 

(AP) 12 March 2013 - An Egyptian Foreign Ministry official says a man suspected of trying to spread Christianity in Libya has died in prison there.

The diplomat says Ezzat Atallah, who suffered from diabetes and heart ailments, likely died of natural causes. He spoke anonymously Sunday in line with regulations.

Atallah was among five Evangelical Christian Egyptians detained in Libya for allegedly proselytizing in the predominantly Muslim nation.

Last week, Egypt's Foreign Ministry intervened to win release from Libya of 55 Egyptians who were also suspected of proselytizing. Thirty-five of them were deported for illegally entering the country, while 20 were cleared to stay in Libya.

Also, four foreigners under investigation for alleged espionage and proselytizing remain in a Libyan prison. They are a Swedish-American, a South Korean, a South African and an Egyptian


Although the Egyptian foreign ministry claimed Ezzat died from natural causes, reports from Libya confirm that Ezzat was tortured while in detention, resulting in his death. 


(AP)  http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gWqL-cK7u_aNk5BwroIeZ95PFIaQ?docId=2f3d55c2cdba42c48c1ac12cd03aa93e

Christian murdered in Somalia (MSN) 

(MSN) 01 March 2013 - Suspected Islamic extremists in Somalia shot a Christian to death this month on the outskirts of the coastal city of Kismayo, sources said.

Two masked men killed Ahmed Ali Jimale, a 42-year-old father of four, on Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. as he stood outside his house in Alanley village, near a police station, they said. The killers were suspected to be members of the Islamic extremist Al Shabaab, a rebel militia ousted from the area four months ago but still engaging in hit-and-run tactics. A few of the four rival clans in Kismayo, 328 miles southwest of Mogadishu, are said to be housing members of Al Shabaab.
A businessman, teacher and medical consultant well-known in the area, Jimale ran a pharmacy in Kismayo. He would give private lessons on medicine and first aid, and as an underground Christian – as are all Christians in Somalia – he highlighted the teaching with discussions comparing the Bible and the Koran, sources said.


(MSN)  http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=7ec6d7eb2533a90581f839110&id=1516bf743f&e=065a483070

Christian shot dead for defending his faith (AgendaFides)

(AF) 20 February 2013 - Roshan Masih, a 45 year old Christian, was shot dead after an argument over religion in Lahore, capital of Punjab Province. Fides learned that the episode, on 16 February, brought bewilderment and grief ito the local Christian community : it was an act of murder in cold blood: Roshan's defence of his Christian beliefs compared to Muslim beliefs, may have been considered 'blasphemous'.

Roshan Masih had converted from Hinduism to Christianity and about 20 ago settled in Lahore. Days before the murder he had a heated argument over religion with a local Muslim, Sohail Akhtar. The latter waited for his opportunity, and, on 16 February, seeing Roshan sitting outside a shop run by Sadiq Masih, another Christian, Sohail Akhtar, armed with a rifle, shot him dead there and then.

The case was reported to the "Legal Evangelical Association Development" (LEAD), which in turn filed an official First Information Report with the police, accusing Sohail Akhtar of premeditated homicide. The assassin was arrested and taken into custody by the local police which has undertaken a serious investigation, after which the case will probably pass to the Legal Courts. 

"This is truly a tragedy: an innocent man is slain for defending his faith in a simple argument. The episode is emblematic of the conditions of Pakistani Christians. The authorities have a duty to guarantee the basic rights of Christian minorities", Fides was told by lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, of LEAD, the organization which defends and promotes Pakistan's religious minority groups.

(PA) (Agenzia Fides 20/2/2013)

Two Christian pastors murdered on Zanzibar Island (BNL) 

(BosNewsLife) 18 February 2013 A Catholic priest was shot dead Sunday, February 17, on his way to church in Tanzania's semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, just days after a pastor was beheaded by suspected Muslim extremists on the mainland, officials and Christians said.

"Father Evarist Mushi was blocked by two young men at the entrance of the church" in Zanzibar City, the capital, where "one of the attackers shot him in the head," said the island's police spokesman Mohammed Mhina in published remarks.

It was the second such attack on the Muslim-majority island of 1.2 million people in recent months. On Christmas Day, gunmen shot and seriously wounded a Catholic priest as he returned home from church.

Police did not know whether both attacks were related, but local Christians said there has been a rise in Islamic attacks against individual believers and churches.

Sunday's shooting came while on the mainland, in Tanzania's Geita Region, Christians were mourning the violent death of a pastor of an Assemblies of God Church.


Pastor Mathayo Kachili was reportedly beheaded Monday, February 11,by what witnesses called a mob of Muslim extremists and "radicals".

Police commander Denis Stephano told reporters that the killing in Buseresere town was sparked by tensions over whether Christians were allowed to open and operate butcheries in the area.

The killing sparked deadly riots between religious Christians and Muslims, with at least one attacker reportedly dying of his injuries, before police was able to intervene.

Pastor Kachili leaves behind a wife and several children who depended on his salary to make a living, Christians said.

In a reaction, rights group International Christian Concern (ICC) suggested that that this was part of a wider Islamic campaign against Christians in East Africa.


"Just last week, two Christian pastors in Garissa, Kenya were attacked by Islamic extremists suspected to be connected with [militant group] al-Shabab," explained William Stark, ICC regional manager for Africa.

"The increase of attacks on Christians can be linked to the spread of radical Islam across East Africa. Groups like al-Shabab and its sympathizers have shown that they are not afraid to attack and kill Christians in countries that are traditionally thought of as Christian," he told BosNewsLife in a statement.

Stark isn't optimistic about the future. "Until the issue of radical Islam is confronted in East Africa, we will continue to see attacks on Christians and other minority groups. If ignored, the spread of radical Islam has the potential to turn East Africa into another Nigeria or Mali where Christians are persecuted and killed by the hundreds."

In Zanzibar, however, police said they were investigating the latest killing of a priest. "For now, we cannot say what the motives are for the attack, but we have launched search operations for the attackers," added spokesman Mhina.

Authorities are concerned more violence could threaten the tourism industry, the main foreign currency earner for Zanzibar, known for its white-sand beaches and historical buildings in Stone Town, listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
(BNL)  http://www.bosnewslife.com/26528-breaking-news-priest-shot-dead-in-zanzibar-pastor-beheaded-on-mainland

Christian teacher murdered in Iraq (AsiaNews)

(AsiaNews) 15 January 2013 - Police in Mosul found the body of a Christian woman with her throat cut. The gruesome discovery was made today in an area where attacks have been perpetrated in the past against members of the city's Christian minority, some, like abducted Bishop Faraj Rahho and Fr Ragheed Ganni, murdered.

Sources told AsiaNews that the victim is Shdha Elias, a 54-year-old Chaldean, who worked as a teacher "in a school in the al Bath neighbourhood." She "lived however in Bar Nirgal, near the university". With her death, she joins "the long list of Christian martyrs in Mosul."

For the source, "Tensions between Sunnis and Shias are running high across Iraq, not only in the North. And peace and national reconciliation appear far off."

Mosul is a stronghold of Sunni Wahhabism, which is closely tied to Saudi Arabia. For experts on Iraqi politics, the aim is "to set up a state based on Sharia," with the Qur'an and the Sunnah as the basis of legislation and "Islam as the only state religion". In such a system, members of other religions can choose between conversion, flight or paying taxes for non-Muslims.

In northern Iraq, Christians have been targeted for murder and kidnapping for the purpose of extortion. They have also been caught in the crossfire between Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds vying for power and control of the area's rich oil resources.

In ten years of conflict, the Christian community has lost more than half of its members in an exodus of 'Biblical' proportions following a series of murders.

A Christian official in Mosul Governatorate, anonymous for security reasons, acknowledged that "many Christian families" have fled. "They have lost confidence in everything," he said. "The government is incapable of doing anything to protect them. What future do non-Muslims have in countries where violence reins!"


(AsiaNews)  http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Christian-teacher-has-throat-cut-in-Mosul,-plunging-city-in-fear-again-26799.html

Christians in Colombia being murdered one after the other (CDN)

(CompasDirectNews) 14 January 2013 -Four months after guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) sent a murdered evangelist's wife their first demand to abandon her home in northeast Colombia's volatile Arauca department, the militants made good on their threats, report sources close to Open Doors, a ministry to persecuted Christians.

On Monday, Jan 7th 2013, as the family's pastor finished an evening devotional in the home of widow Alicia Castilla, assassins entered the home and opened fire on her with pistols, killing her instantly in front of her three children and her father.
An Open Doors worker who cannot be named for security reasons told World Watch Monitor that before leaving the home, the guerrillas told Castilla's son, 18-year-old Hernán, that the rest of the family had three days to leave the region. After that, the killers warned, they would return and one by one kill other family members.
Castilla's death follows the murder of her husband, lay evangelist Nelson Ramos, two years before, in January 2011, also at the hands of the ELN. The armed rebel group holds a virtual sway of terror over the area.
Ramos, who had come to faith in Christ two years before his death, often shared the gospel in Saravena, a border town near Colombia's frontier with Venezuela. A few months after his conversion, the ELN issued its first expulsion order against him and his family.
"When Nelson preached, people were attracted to the gospel," the Open Doors worker said. "He was always talking about Christ."
Hernán Ramos, the couple's son, told the Open Doors worker that, beyond denouncing his father for preaching, the guerrillas never fully explained why they so adamantly wanted to drive out the family. After he had received threats during 2010, guerrillas entered the family's home and shot the elder Ramos as his wife and two small daughters watched.
In the months following Ramos' death, Castilla feared that her son would carry out his stated plans to avenge the death of his father. But at a July 2011 encounter ministering to children in the persecuted church who have lost one or both parents (held by the ministry), Hernán renounced his earlier vow to join the Colombian military to gain training in weaponry and avenge his father's murder. Instead he was baptized and became deeply involved in church activities.
Castilla, in her mid 40s, joined an Open Doors group that supports widowed victims of persecution. The group began in Arauca in 2010 and today includes 30 families across Colombia. The Open Doors worker last saw Castilla on Dec 21, in Saravena at a ministry workshop where Hernán restated his commitment to not avenge his father's death.
While she was away attending the workshop, guerrillas visited Castilla's house with a third warning to leave. Castilla was willing to move, but her elderly father was not.
"She was always bearing witness about forgiveness and living in peace," the Open Doors worker said. "Alicia was a woman who was very committed to God, but from the start she was very worried about the threats."
Although local government authorities are mandated to remove murder victims from crime scenes, they refused to handle Castilla’s body, fearing reprisals from the ELN insurgents. Finally funeral home workers retrieved her body.
"The local authorities understand who the guerrillas consider their enemy, and they prefer not to visit certain places," the Open Doors worker said.
Founded in 1964, the ELN is one of several illegal armed groups fighting for control of the rich petroleum resources in this area along Colombia's eastern-central border with Venezuela.
The violent groups use the Arauca department as a narcotrafficking route, forcibly recruit children into their ranks, and persecute those who oppose them, namely the church. A culture of death governs the region amid an atmosphere of fear and revenge.
"The ELN believe that Christians are brainwashed with the Bible, and that they will never support their revolution," the Open Doors worker said. The militants are also suspicious that Christians are spies and informants for the government, and complain that they give funds to their churches and refuse to support rebel activities.
"They also notice that when Christians fast and pray, the guerrillas’ violent plans against them are oddly stopped!"
"We must pray that Hernán's heart and decisions don't change, that everything be transformed into blessing and not a chain of blood and hate," the Open Doors coordinator for Arauca said. "We pray for his protection, and also for his little sisters Rosmy and Jackeline, ages 9 and 6, who now face life without either one of their parents."


(CDN)  http://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/english/country/colombia/article_2006360.html

Christian murdered in Mosul (AINA)

(AINA) 09 January 2013 -  Police in Mosul found the body of a Christian woman with her throat cut. The gruesome discovery was made today in an area where attacks have been perpetrated in the past against members of the city's Christian minority, some, like abducted Bishop Faraj Rahho and Fr Ragheed Ganni, murdered.

Sources told AsiaNews that the victim is Shdha Elias, a 54-year-old Chaldean, who worked as a teacher "in a school in the al Bath neighbourhood." She "lived however in Bar Nirgal, near the university". With her death, she joins "the long list of Christian martyrs in Mosul."

For the source, "Tensions between Sunnis and Shias are running high across Iraq, not only in the North. And peace and national reconciliation appear far off."

Mosul is a stronghold of Sunni Wahhabism, which is closely tied to Saudi Arabia. For experts on Iraqi politics, the aim is "to set up a state based on Sharia," with the Qur'an and the Sunnah as the basis of legislation and "Islam as the only state religion". In such a system, members of other religions can choose between conversion, flight or paying taxes for non-Muslims.

In northern Iraq, Christians have been targeted for murder and kidnapping for the purpose of extortion. They have also been caught in the crossfire between Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds vying for power and control of the area's rich oil resources.

In ten years of conflict, the Christian community has lost more than half of its members in an exodus of 'Biblical' proportions following a series of murders.

A Christian official in Mosul Governatorate, anonymous for security reasons, acknowledged that "many Christian families" have fled. "They have lost confidence in everything," he said. "The government is incapable of doing anything to protect them. What future do non-Muslims have in countries where violence reins!"


(AINA) http://www.aina.org/news/20130108182418.htm 

Somali Christian shot dead for converting from Islam (MSN)

(MSN) 17 December 2012 - Gunmen in central Somalia on Saturday (Dec. 8) killed an underground Christian who had been receiving death threats for leaving Islam, area sources said.

Two unidentified masked men shot Mursal Isse Siad, 55, outside his home in Beledweyne, 206 miles (332 kilometers) north of Mogadishu, for leaving Islam, Muslim and Christian sources told Morning Star News. The assailants fled immediately after the murder.

Siad’s oldest daughter (name withheld), 15, said her father was killed “because he failed to attend the mosque for prayers and used to pray at home. He used to share with us about Jesus.” She said that he had received messages on his mobile phone stating, “We know what you are doing, and you must stop, otherwise you risk your life.”

Siad’s 42-year-old wife (name withheld), three daughters and two sons have fled the area, fearing for their lives.

A Christian source in Mogadishu confirmed the killing, and a Muslim resident of the Beledweyne area also said Siad was killed for leaving Islam.

“Siad deserved to die because he was not committed to the Islamic religion,” the resident said.

Siad and his wife, who converted to Christianity in 2000 according to a source who used to worship with them, had moved to Beledweyne from Doolow eight months ago, after Somalia’s transitional federal government and African Union Mission in Somalia troops captured Beledweyne from Al Shabaab rebels. Siad had taken a job with a local Non-Governmental Organization.

“Since we arrived from Doolow, my parents have not been attending the worship at the mosque, but they have been allowing us to worship at the nearby mosque,” his daughter said.

As the gunmen were masked, she was unable to say whether the assailants were local. The area is under government control and there is no indication that the killers belonged to the Al Shabaab rebels who have vowed to rid the country of Christianity, but the Islamic extremist insurgents are present in Buulodbarde, 20 kilometers (12 miles) away, and Christians believe a few Al Shabaab rebels could be hiding in Beledweyne.

In the coastal city of Barawa on Nov. 16, Al-Shabaab militants killed a Christian after accusing him of being a spy and leaving Islam, Christian and Muslim witnesses said. The extremists beheaded 25-year-old Farhan Haji Mose after monitoring his movements for six months, Christian sources said.

Mose drew suspicion when he returned to Barawa, in Somalia’s Lower Shebelle Region, in December 2011 after spending time in Kenya, according to underground Christians in Somalia. Kenya’s population is nearly 83 percent Christian, according to Operation World, while Somalia’s is close to 100 percent Muslim.


(Morning Star News)  http://morningstarnews.org/2012/12/christian-shot-to-death-in-somalia/

Swedish Christian worker in Pakistan dies from shooting (MSN)

(MSN) 14 December 2012 - Birgitta Almby, Bible school teacher and director of a Christian-run technical training institute in Lahore, died last night in her native Sweden from wounds sustained in a Dec. 3 shooting here by suspected Islamic extremists. She was 70.

Shot by two armed men outside her house in Lahore’s upscale Model Town as she returned from her Full Gospel Assemblies (FGA) office in the Kot Lakhpat area, Almby died at about 10 p.m. Pakistan Standard Time at Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, FGA Bible School Principal Liaqat Qaiser told Morning Star News.

Almby, director at the FGA Technical Training Institute and also a teacher at the FGA Bible School, was shot in the chest, and the bullet damaged her left lung. Initially she was taken to Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital, where doctors removed the bullet and said her condition was critical because of excessive bleeding.

She had served the Pakistani Christian community for 38 years.

Almby will be missed dearly,” Qaiser said. “She spent a long time serving the poor and downtrodden Christians in Pakistan, and every Christian is very sad at her demise. But she is in a much better place now.”

Police have yet to trace the assassins and unearth a motive for her murder, but Qaiser said he believes she was targeted by Islamic extremists.

“Who else would want to murder someone as apolitical and harmless as Almby, who had dedicated her life to serving humanity?” he said. “The police say they are trying hard to find the killers, but at the moment there is nothing substantial. We just hope her killers are brought to justice.”

Model Town Superintendent of Police Investigations Ijaz Shafi Dogar said his department was probing from all angles, but that nothing could be said of the motive for the killing, “as there are no witnesses.”

“We were hoping that Almby would recover from the coma and provide information about the men who targeted her, as she was the only person who had seen her assailants,” Shafi Dogar told Morning Star News. “There are no other witnesses.”

Almby’s FGA colleagues told police there had been no security threat to them or Almby, he added.

He rejected reports that police suspected involvement of the Al Qaeda-linked Punjabi Taliban in the attack on Almby, saying there was nothing to suggest Taliban involvement in the murder.

“The Taliban immediately claim responsibility for such attacks, but there was no word from them regarding the attack on the Swede,” Shafi Dogar said. “Still, we haven’t completely ruled out their involvement in the case.”

The assailants took no money or valuables from Almby’s car after they shot her.

Almby had been transferred to Sweden for treatment in an air ambulance provided by the Swedish government as there was no improvement in her condition.

“She was moved to her home country for specialist treatment, but she could not survive because of her injuries, which proved fatal,” said Qaiser, the Bible school principal. He added that Almby is mourned by a brother and two sisters in Sweden and thousands of Christians in Pakistan, which was a second home to her.

Besides directing the FGA training institute and teaching at the Bible school, Almby also oversaw orphanages run by the U.S.-founded Christian charity.

Dr. Tahira Saleem, founder and chairperson of Shekinah Ministries Pakistan and a close friend of Almby, spoke highly of her commitment to Pakistani Christians.

Her demise is a big loss for us,” she said. “She was loved by everyone here and will be held in high regard always.”said it was unfortunate that police have been unable to find Almby’s killers.

“Such incidents bring a bad name for the country and its people,” she said. “The government should take this investigation more seriously and ensure the perpetrators of this heinous crime are punished.”

In Stockholm, Niclas Lindgren, director of the missionary wing of the Pentecostal church in Sweden, reportedly said it was hard to come to grips with the murder.

“Birgitta worked with social issues like education and health care,” he told Sweden’s The Local. “If she’d worked with political issues, it may have been understandable why she got murdered … There was no indication that there was a threat to her life. It was very unexpected. As it is now, we don’t know what the motive was or why she was killed.”

Lindgren added that it was “too early to say” whether the murder will affect the work Almby oversaw in Pakistan.

A representative from the Pentecostal church in Köping said Almby’s injuries had resulted in serious brain damage, leaving little hope that she would ever fully recover, according to Christian newspaper Dagen.

The Pakistani government expressed regret, saying utmost efforts would be made to find her attackers and bring them to justice.

Swedish Aid Minister Gunilla Carlsson expressed her condolences, saying the incident had touched her deeply.


(MorningStarNews)  http://morningstarnews.org/2012/12/swedish-christian-worker-dies-from-pakistan-shooting/

Feast of the Martyrs (AsiaNews) 

(AsiaNews) 22 November 2012 - "On my job I suffer injustice because of my faith. But when I think of the martyrs of Vietnam, of these saints who have been faithful and loyal in following Jesus, I feel comforted. They accepted to be condemned and killed rather than to renounce their faith. We are descendants of these martyrs and are called to live the same way. This is why I continue to live and bear witness to my faith at work and in society."

This is the testimony of one young Catholic to AsiaNews, on the occasion of the feast of the 117 Vietnamese Martyrs, which is celebrated in Vietnam on November 18 (in the universal Church, the feast is September 24).

The awareness of being "descendants of the martyrs" is very much alive among the more than 7 million Catholics in Vietnam and the more than one million expatriates in the world. "We are happy and we honor these 117 martyrs", continues the young man, "who represent the more than 130,000 of the faithful who were killed for their faith in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These saints are our heroes of the faith."

Two days ago, in all the churches and chapels of Vietnam, masses were celebrated in honor of the martyrs. And it was an opportunity to reconsider the way Catholics live the faith today.

Fr. Joseph Nguyễn, of the Redemptorists in Saigon, told AsiaNews: "Today we must be alert to the danger of compromise with evil and violence. In Vietnam, there are 'groups and false doctrines' that present themselves with their 'beautiful faces'. In appearance they are polite, full of values, but in reality they are neither true nor good. The danger of compromise is present in every age."

One of the dangers to be guarded against is consumerism. Fr. John Pham Quang Long, pastor of Vinh, points out: "In Vietnam, under any system, we always have to deal with some trap. We often have to face the temptation of consumerism. Material things keep us away from God. To keep the faith alive we have to go through many difficulties, even serious ones, to decide clearly whether to deny God or follow him."

"Today", he continued, "there is no persecution as in the past, but the culture and way of life marked by consumerism and atheism are obstacles that often make us deny the faith. And maybe sometimes we have already 'gotten down from the Cross,' and we haven't even noticed."

Fr. Vincent Pham Trung Thanh, provincial superior of the Redemptorists, recalled the resistance of the Hanoi government and some sections of the Church to the canonization of the martyrs. "In the 1980s", he told a group of young people, "the Vietnamese communist government severely opposed the canonization of the 117 Vietnamese martyrs. In addition, even within the Catholic Church, some bishops, priests and religious protested against the canonization, just as the Communists did. But God accomplishes his works and today we celebrate the feast of the Martyrs with great solemnity."

"Cardinal Trinh Văn Căn, at the time Archbishop of Hanoi", Fr. Vincent recalled, "even had to submit the profile of the martyrs to be canonized to the government. The Hanoi government is very sneaky and tries to bend the religions. Cardinal Trin Văn Căn also suffered as a result of being isolated by his brothers and sisters, by bishops, priests and religious. Why? Because they thought themselves more wise and prudent [than the Cardinal]. The government even put the bishop of Hanoi under surveillance, night and day."

From the past to the present, Fr. Vincent pointed out: "Recently, also Archbishop Joseph Ngô Quang Kiệt has experienced solitude and isolation because he protected the Church and defended the laity who were beaten and abandoned."

The celebration of the martyrs was an opportunity to remember the Catholics imprisoned by the government. Fr. Matthew, of the Redemptorists in Saigon, listed them: "There are 17 young Catholics in the diocese of Vinh, some from Hanoi, others from Thanh Hóa, from Long An, Xuân Lộc and from Cà Mau. Along with other non-Catholics they were imprisoned without trial, oppressed and persecuted by the government's violence. We continue to pray for all of them." 


(AsiaNews)  http://www.asianews.it/news-en/The-feast-of-Vietnamese-martyrs-comforts-persecuted-Christians-today-26401.html

Christian convert from Islam beheaded in Somalia (ASSIST) 

(ASSIST) 19 November  2012 -  Islamic extremists from Somalia’s rebel Al-Shabaab militants on Friday (Nov. 16, 2012) brutally murdered a Christian in Somalia’s coastal city of Barawa, accusing him of being a spy and leaving Islam, Christian and Muslim witnesses said.



Another shocking murder; this time of Zakaria Hussein Omar, 26, on Jan. 2 in Cee-carfiid village, nine miles outside of the Somali capital. Omar had worked for a Christian humanitarian organization that al Shabaab banned last year

According to the East Africa Correspondent for Morning Star News (http://morningstarnews.org), the extremists beheaded 25-year-old Farhan Haji Mose after monitoring his movements for six months, Christian sources said. Mose drew suspicion when he returned to Barawa, in Somalia’s Lower Shebelle Region, in December 2011 after spending time in Kenya, underground Christians in Somalia told Morning Star News.


Kenya’s population is nearly 83 percent Christian, according to Operation World, while Somalia’s is close to 100 percent Muslim.

A crowd assembled in the coastal city on Friday morning to watch the slaughter of Mose, the sources said.

“His body was split into two, then carried away, only to be dumped near the beach of Barawa city,” a Christian source who witnessed the murder told Morning Star News.

Other witnesses, Muslims, independently described the same scene. They and the Christian witness told Morning Star News that the Islamic extremists accused Mose of being a spy for foreigners and of embracing the “foreign religion of Christianity.”

Loved ones of the deceased did not risk immediately recovering the body, fearing that the militants would consider them guilty by association and kill them as well. A source said a Muslim fisherman who came upon Mose’s body this morning (Nov. 17) lamented, “What a brutal murder – why did the Al Shabaab kill this man? Did he deserve such a brutal death because he associated with the Christian people in Kenya?”


An al Shabaab rebel

The story went on to say that Mose, who had studied in Kenya, had a small cosmetics shop in in Barawa and had traveled to Kenya on business last year. He converted to Christianity in 2010 while in Kenya, sources said.


“I am saddened by the death of my friend Mose,” said an underground Christian who had encouraged Mose in his faith after the young man had returned from Kenya.

A leader of the underground church in Somalia also confirmed the murder.

“Barawa, also called Brava, has come under control of the Al Shabaab rebels fighting the government. With a population of 545,000, the city is an international port in the Lower Shebelle Region, 113 miles (181 kilometers) southwest of the capital city of Mogadishu,” the Morning Star correspondent said.

“Al Shabaab rebels have killed dozens of Christian converts from Islam since embarking on a campaign to rid Somalia of Christianity. The insurgents, variously estimated at 3,000 to 7,000, seek to impose a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) on Somalia.

“The transitional government in Mogadishu proclaims itself moderate, but it too has embraced a version of sharia that mandates the death penalty for those who leave Islam.”

Designated a terrorist organization by several Western governments, Al Shabaab was one of several splinter groups that arose after Ethiopian forces toppled the Islamic Courts Union from power in Somalia in 2006.


Note: Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation whose mission is to inform those in the free world and in countries violating religious freedom about Christians worldwide who are persecuted for their faith. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contacteditor@morningstarnews.org,  or send check to Morning Star News, 24310 Moulton Parkway, Suite O # 157, Laguna Hills, CA 92637, USA. 
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Orthodox Priest abducted in Syria found dead (ASSIST) 

(ASSIST) 30 October 2012 - A Greek Orthodox priest has been found slain after being kidnapped near the Syrian capital of Damascus, the Syrian government and the Vatican news service reported Thursday.

According to a story by the LA Times, the body of the Rev. Fadi Jamil Haddad, pastor of St. Elias Church in Qatana, outside Damascus, was discovered in the Jaramana district of the capital, reported Agenzia Fides, the Vatican news service. The site was not far from the area where he was kidnapped by an “unidentified armed group" last Friday, the agency said.

The Vatican agency quoted a colleague as saying the priest had been “horribly tortured.”

According to the LA Times, the official Syrian news service said the priest was found with a gunshot wound to his head. The government news agency blamed the crime on “terrorists,” its usual characterization of the armed opposition fighting to oust President Bashar Assad.

According to the official account, the priest was abducted while seeking the release of another person who had been kidnapped by militants.

However, the LA Times said, it was unclear if the priest’s slaying was political, sectarian or criminal in nature. Many Syrians have complained of a breakdown in law and order and a spike in kidnapping for ransom and other crimes as security has deteriorated. Opportunistic criminals have moved to take advantage of the nation's security void.

The Vatican news agency reported that the priest’s kidnappers had demanded a ransom equivalent to about $715,000 for the priest’s release. “It was, however, impossible to find the money and meet this exorbitant demand,” reported Agenzia Fides.

The LA Times said the Greek Orthodox population is considered the largest Christian denomination in Syria, where Christians represent perhaps 10 percent of the population. Syria is overwhelmingly Muslim.

Christian leaders in Syria say their community, which has ancient roots, is in a precarious position. The LA Times reported that some Christians have joined the rebellion and called for Assad to step down. However, many Syrian Christians back Assad, whose administration has been tolerant of religious minorities even as it has crushed political dissent.

The LA Times said Assad has tried to rally support among Christians and other minorities against the armed rebellion, which is led by the nation's Sunni Muslim majority. There have been reports from Syria of government efforts to arm Christian communities. But some Christian leaders have urged their co-religionists to remain neutral in the conflict.

According to the LA Times, some Christians voice fears that Islamists will take over the secular Syrian government and that the nation will experience the kind of sectarian violence, including the bombing of churches and torching of Christian shops, that ravaged neighboring Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein. Hussein, like Assad, was a secular autocrat who tolerated Christian religious practice. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians fled to Syria in the aftermath of Hussein’s fall.


(ASSIST)  http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2012/s12100140.htm

46 Christians killed in Nigerian University (ICR) (MSN)

(InternationalChristianResponse) 08 October 2012 - The gunmen who killed at least 46 people in Nigeria’s northwestern town of Mubi on Monday (Oct. 1) first asked them if they were Christians before shooting or knifing them, according to students who escaped the carnage.

Two students from the off-campus housing site in the Mubi suburb ofWuro Fatuje, Adamawa state, where the massacre took place, told Morning Star News that the assailants were ethnic Hausa Muslims who shouted “Allahu Akbar [God is greater]” as they shot or stabbed hostel residents. One of the students said the assailants also torched a church building in nearby Tudun Wada the same night.

The students speculated that non-Christian victims among the dead were killed by mistake or suspected of collaborating with security agency raids in Mubi last month that resulted in the round-up of 156 members of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram and the death of one of its leaders.

The gunmen invaded the off-campus housing site serving three Mubi schools – Federal Polytechnic, School of Health Technology and Adamawa State University – at about 10 p.m., “forcing into students’ rooms and asking those they identified as Christians to recant their Christian faith,” said one of the students residing at the site. “Those who refused to do so were either shot or had their throats cut with knives.”

The Christian student of business and management at the Federal Polytechnic, like two other students who said Christians were targeted, has left the area and was willing to have his name published, but it is withheld as Boko Haram has extensive networks throughout the country. He said by phone that his escape was nothing short of miraculous.

“When they entered my hostel’s compound, they were knocking on our doors one after the other. They were asking students, ‘What is your name?’” he said. “Each time we heard them asking, and the next thing we would hear was gunshot. They moved from one room to another, knocking on the door and shouting in Hausa and English. They were asking us to open the door.”

When they reached his room, he said, he did not open the door.“I remained in prayer, until they left my door to the other rooms,” he said. “I didn’t know what made them not to break into my room as they did to other students living in the hostel. When I came out later, I was still hearing gunshots and the wailing of students who were being killed in other compounds. It was a horrible scene. I counted five bodies in my compound.”


Another business/management student at the Polytechnic also residing at the housing site corroborated the account of the other student.


“The gunmen were asking students if they were Christians or Muslims, and then asked Christian victims to deny Christ,” the student said. “Christian students who refused to do so were killed by the gunmen instantly.”


He added that the attackers also set fire to a Pentecostal church in Tudun Wada.


“I learned that the Redeemed Christian Church in Tudun Wada was also burnt down when the attackers visited the area,” he said.


The students’ accounts may contradict or complement Polytechnic and Red Cross officials’ statements that the gunmen arrived at the off-campus housing site and fired indiscriminately at residents for about an hour.


Motive Investigated

At least 26 students from the Federal Polytechnic were killed in the attack, while another 20 victims were students at the Adamawa State University and the School of Health Technology, also in Mubi, according to a student tally based on school official statements.


An unknown number of wounded students, some of them in critical condition, were being treated at General Hospital in Mubi.


The three schools have closed, creating difficulties in obtaining more information, but among Christian students killed were Chimonbi Festus, Lucky Emmanuel, Ishaku Ibrahim, John Kingsley and Charles Chikodi, sources said. Baba Karewa, dean of student affairs at the Polytechnic, said the institution will remain closed down indefinitely.


Elias Pwanidi, president of the polytechnic’s Student Union Government, told Morning Star News by phone that 46 bodies had been recovered and transferred to the Mubi General Hospital Morgue. Pwanidi, who resided on campus, said he had heard that the assailants asked the students about their names and religion.


A week before the massacre, officials announced that Nigerian security agents had carried out a massive search among houses in Mubi, arresting 156 members of the Boko Haram group that has terrorized Christians in the area for months. A Boko Haram bomb manufacturing plant was discovered, and the military recovered a cache of arms and Improvised Explosive Devices. A Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Yola, known to area Muslims as Abu Jihad, was killed.


Adamawa police officials, however, stated that only 25 students were killed, and that student union politics was suspected as a motive for the attack.


“Our men have recovered 25 dead bodies from the students’ rooms, and we suspect that there may be some students involved in the attack as there was a student union election a week earlier,” said Ibrahim Mohammed, a spokesman for the Adamawa State Police Command in Yola. “It is possible this may be a reason for the attack, but we are still investigating the incident.”


The attack follows earlier murders of Christians in the town. In January, 13 Christians holding a town hall fellowship in Mubi were killed. Local police blamed the killings on Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is a sin.”


Boko Haram has been blamed for the deaths of more than 1,400 people since 2010, according to the BBC. The Islamist sect has targeted churches, state offices, law enforcement sites and some moderate mosques in its effort to destabilize the government and impose a strict version ofsharia (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria.

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million and live mainly in the south, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north. But those practicing indigenous religions may be as high as 10 percent of the total population, according to Operation World, so the percentages of Christians and Muslims may be less.

Dr. Reuben Abati, special adviser on media and publicity to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said in a press statement that the Mubi killings were tragic, sad, barbaric and shocking.


“The president has directed security agencies to investigate the matter and get to the root, because this kind of incident, where people are called out and shot, is really shocking,” the statement reads.


(MorningStarNews)  http://www.christianresponse.org/

Pastor murdered in Colombia (CSW)

(CSW) 21 September 2012 - Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling for a full investigation into the murder of protestant Pastor Henry Rodriguez, 44, who was shot dead as he exited his church in Bogota, Colombia, on Sunday 16 September.  Pastor Rodriguez was a leader at the United Pentecostal Church in the Marsella neighbourhood in the Kennedy sector of Bogota.

The reasons behind the assassination are unknown, however, according to local press reports, witnesses said the murder was carried out by what appeared to be professional hit men. Pastor Rodriguez was leaving the church after an afternoon service when he was shot multiple times by two men on a moped, a method commonly used in professional hits in Colombia. Hospital staff were unable to resuscitate him.

While the assassination of a pastor is extremely unusual in Bogota, countrywide church leaders are frequently targeted by illegal armed groups. CSW’s long-term partners in Colombia, the Colombian Council of Evangelical Churches (CEDECOL) Peace Commission, estimates that on average 20-30 church leaders are assassinated each year. In general, leaders are targeted because of their refusal to cooperate or support the objectives of the illegal armed groups; however, the reasons behind the murder of Pastor Rodriguez are unclear as he had not reported receiving any threats prior to Sunday’s events.

Pastor Rodriguez, who was on course to graduate in October from the Baptist Seminary in Cali, is survived by his wife and three children.


(ChristianSolidarityWorldwide) http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=1429 

Christian beaten to death after confessing Christ (VPC)

(VPC) 04 September 2012 -  One Christian was killed and others were injured when a group of Hindu nationalists attacked a prayer meeting in Tamil Nadu.

The All India Christian Council (AICC), a Release partner, says Edwin Raj died after Hindu nationalists launched an apparently well-planned attack on a private home in Sathankodu, Kanyakumari district, on Sunday.

While a small group of extremists disrupted the prayer meeting initially, they were soon joined by other assailants armed with stones and iron rods. They asked Edwin if he was a Christian and, when he said 'yes', they beat him brutally. He died of his injuries on the way to hospital. His father was injured when he tried to intervene to protect Edwin.

AICC reports that the extremists had told the police they intended to attack the Christians – and police had done nothing to prevent it. An AICC fact-finding team has already visited the village to help obtain justice for the Christians.

19 Christians killed in Nigeria (ICC) 

(ICC) 08 Aug 2012  - International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that yesterday gunmen carried out attacks at Deeper Life Church in the town of Otite, Kogi State, killing 19 worshippers. The Christians were conducting Monday night service at the time of the attack.

The perpetrators have not been identified, but in the past similar attacks against Christians have been carried out by members of Boko Haram, an Islamic radical group, seeking to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria.

Members of Boko Haram are killing Christians. They want to Islamize the North. Their targets are Christians, the security men and the police. Many Christians have already left the north. For those of us remaining in the North, we worship under heavy presence of military. This time the church was attacked because the service was held on Monday,” said a Christian leader in an interview with ICC.

This latest anti-Christian violence came two days after Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, told Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, to convert to Islam or resign otherwise the violence will continue.


(ICC)  http://www.persecution.org/2012/08/07/gunmen-storm-nigerian-church-kill-19/

India police investigating murder pastor, church burning (BosNewsLife) 

Bos News Life - 12 June 2012NEW DELHI, INDIA - Police investigations continued Monday, June 11, into the reasons behind the murder of a Protestant pastor in southern India and the destruction of a church in the north where hundreds of Christians have reportedly fled their homes, BosNewsLife monitored.

In the latest most bloodiest known incident against devoted Christians in this predominantly Hindu nation, Pastor C Wilson, 54, was found murdered along an abandoned two-wheeler in Tamil Nadu state, police and Christians said.

His body was reportedly discovered June 2 at a highway near Othakadai town, with his skull fractured with stones.

"It seems like an incident of robbery, but he can be a victim of religious hatred or it can be anything. Until further investigations are carried out, we will not know," said the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), an advocacy group.

Local police said in statements that they are close to detaining a suspect.


They opened "a case of murder," but police investigators acknowledged that they are yet to ascertain the motive behind the murder.

Police have not ruled out robbery, religious hatred or enmity as reasons for the killing.

The murder has underscored concerns within India's minority Christian community over increasingly violent anti-Christian attacks as it came shortly after a 119-year-old church was burned in India's northern   Jammu and Kashmir state.

Christians said the church in Srinagar, the state's summer capital, was set ablaze on May 23 by suspected Islamic extremists.


While the guard was away, the offenders reportedly threw a petrol bomb into the building.

Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu-Srinagar said in published remarks that "Muslim fundamentalists" want Christians to leave the state, and because they are a minority, "cannot resist the pressure".

Over 400 Christians have fled their homes as a result of threats from Muslims, according to rights activists and Christians.

It was not immediately clear Monday, June 11, where, or whether, all Christians have found shelter.

Both Muslim extremists and the larger Hindu nationalist movements have expressed concerns about the spread of Christianity in India, especially among Dalits, which were long deemed the 'lowest caste' in the country's ancient system of Hinduism.


Bos News Life Asia Service http://www.bosnewslife.com/22044-india-police-investigating-murder-pastor-church-burning 

Violence Continues in Nigeria as Akinola Criticizes President (Compass)

Compass Direct News - 31 May 2012Muslim extremists have killed more than officials know, Christian leaders say.

In Nigeria’s Plateau state, Christian leaders said more Christians have died at the hands of Muslim extremists than the 35 that the military reported thus far in May.

A Compass reporter was among a group of journalists that came under attack from Islamic extremists this month. In three local government areas in Plateau state, armed Fulani herdsmen attacked 15 Christian villages, killing and maiming Christians, destroying homes and leaving more than 1,000 villagers displaced, sources said. 

The villages – Jwol, Foron, Tahoss, Bangai, Sopp, Werem, Danjol, Rinyam, Rim, Kak, Gwamrim, Gwom, Fang, Lwa and Riyas – are located in the local government areas of Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, and Riyom.

Villagers said the attackers were Muslim Fulani herdsmen likely supplied and instigated by Islamic extremist groups. Sources told Compass that Muslim gunmen invaded Rinyam village on May 9 at about 12:30 a.m. and shot seven Christians in their homes, though increasingly assailants are using only machetes and knives to avoid notice by soldiers charged with keeping order.

“Seven people were shot dead, including two children,” said Daniel Dem, an area legislator in the Plateau State House of Assembly. “Three were severely injured. They are now receiving medical attention at the Vom Christian Hospital.”

In Rim village, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed one Christian, Bulus Dakumbi, and injured two others, now receiving treatment at Vom Christian Hospital.

At Gwarim village, Muslim gunmen killed five Christians: Dinnatu Danbwarang, 48; Simi Joseph, 26; Rose Dalyop, 25; Jafates Samuel, 4; and Christiana Samuel, 7.

At Wereng village near Kuru Station, three members of a Christian family were killed when Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked the village: Philip Francis Pam, 37; his wife Simi Francis, 28; and their only daughter, who was a few months old. Christian residents told Compass that the Muslim killers entered the family’s bedroom at 10 p.m. as they slept and murdered them. 

The victims had gunshot wounds on their chests and stomachs as well as machete cuts on their necks, neighbors said. The baby had machete cuts on her ribs, and her fingers were cut off. “Attacks have been happening in this neighborhood, and this is always the mode of operation – gunshots and machete cuts,” said a relative, Francis Pam. 

Dauda Gyang, a Christian villager in Gwarim village, said his younger brother was killed when armed Muslims attacked his village over a period of two weeks. “Muslim Fulani herdsmen came in large numbers and attacked us,” he said. “Their method of attack is that they will start shooting from a distance to scare the villagers, and as soon as the villagers run out of fear, they will come and set our houses ablaze. From my village alone they burned more than 10 houses.”

Sunday Madaki, a displaced Christian from Gwarim, said 13 people were killed and more than 20 injured in six villages. “Over 30 residential houses have been burned,” Madaki said. “All displaced Christians have no homes to return to.”

In Riyas in the Bokkos Local Government Area, about 15 armed Muslims attacked the village, killing two Christians, 35-year-old Mangut Dakwan, and 28-year-old Magit Manaseh, before destroying their homes. 
“Armed men suspected to be Muslim Fulani herdsmen invaded Riyas village at midnight,” Titus Ayuba Alams, a legislator in the Plateau State House of Assembly, told Compass. 

In Fang village, the extremists killed a Christian farmer named Dantyang Bauchi, while Ana Christopher Gyang, a mother of seven, was killed at Lwa village. Three other Christians were killed in an attack at Jwol and Foron villages, where the assailants set fire to houses and shot at Christians as they fled, residents said. 

“These armed Muslim men set fire on surrounding bushes in Jwol, and when we came out to put out the fire, these Muslims shot at us, killing two of our relatives,” said one area resident. “One of us, Dung Danjuma, is still missing even as I am talking to you now.” 

He added that another person was also killed in Foron in a separate attack.

At Rinyam-Tahoss village, Muslim gunmen killed seven Christians, including two children. Three Christians injured in the attack were receiving treatment at the Vom Christian Hospital, sources said. 

Capt. Markus Mdahyelya, spokesman for the Special Task Force (STF) charged with keeping order in areas under national emergency, confirmed the attacks, as did Samuel Dabai, a spokesman for area police. 
Mdahyelya said that as a result of the attacks, the STF commander had shifted troops from other places as reinforcements to the area. “The commander himself has visited the area and addressed the refugees,” he said. “He asked them to return to their houses with promise of adequate security. So, we are in control in the area.”

Displaced Christians have taken refuge at police stations and primary schools in other parts of the state, while others have fled to Jema’a and Sanga Local Government Areas of Kaduna state. In Rinyam-Tahoss village, for example, no fewer than 200 displaced Christians, mostly women and children, are living in a public primary school with no food or medication.

Journalists Attacked
Emmanuel Jugul, a former legislator from the affected areas, told Compass that the government is doing nothing to protect the lives and property of Christians.

“The security agencies in charge of the area are not sincere,” Jugul said. “Either they are not doing their job, or they are conspiring with the attackers, because they’ve not done anything to stop the killings, and yet the areas being attacked by these Muslims are under state of emergency.”

A Compass correspondent was among a group of journalists, along with assemblyman Dem, present in Kak when Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked the village for the second time that week. They shot at the group, but everyone escaped unhurt. “I have witnessed the killings of my people, and I’ve had a close shave with death,” Dem said, in tears. “You journalists have seen it yourselves that my people are not telling lies. And that my people are living in danger. There is no security for Christians here.”

Akinola v. Jonathan
The Nigerian president on Sunday (May 27) took pointed criticism for the government’s handling of Muslim extremist violence against Christians. 

At a special worship service in Abuja for Democracy Day with President Goodluck Jonathan in attendance, the former Anglican primate of the Church of Nigeria criticized the government’s approach to the Muslim extremist Boko Haram sect. The Rt. Rev. Peter Akinola told those gathered at the interdenominational service at the National Christian Centre that, contrary to assertions that Boko Haram is tantamount to a social revolution against economic injustice, officials should ignore claims that the sect is motivated by anything more than jihadist desire to do away with Christianity.

The 68-year-old Akinola advised the Nigerian government against dialogue with Boko Haram. “They want to eliminate ‘infidels,’ which includes you, Mr. President,” Akinola said. “You open yourself to ridicule if you open dialogue to a group that has made the country ungovernable. Don’t treat them with kid gloves. You don’t dialogue with criminals.” 

Boko Haram (literally, “Forbidden Book,” translated as “Western education is forbidden”), has targeted state offices, law enforcement sites and some moderate mosques in its effort to destabilize the government and impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria.

Asserting that the government has failed to address 30 Islamist campaigns to rid the country of Christianity, Akinola said Boko Haram will not be easily stopped, as it has financial and logistical support outside and within Nigeria.

“Boko Haram must be seen in the right context – it is a continuation of the past,” Akinola said. “Shun all political claims that Boko Haram is not against Christianity. It is. It has been going on since 1966. They are committed to jihad. You can’t stop them; it is their religious obligation. They have been doing it for 36 years; they have not stopped and they won’t stop.”

He said that attacks on Christians are a clear indication that the country was in disunity, describing Boko Haram as a “blood-thirsty Islamic sect with no regard for the sanctity of human lives. Nigeria is at war against itself.” Speaking later, Jonathan acknowledged that Boko Haram took his administration by surprise but maintained that his government was doing everything possible to keep it in check. He asserted that the country will remain indivisible.

“No individual or group, no matter their ambition or selfish purpose, will be able to divide this nation,” Jonathan said. “Nigeria will never disintegrate. Even though some people were busy predicting the disintegration of Nigeria, there would be no such thing.”

The president said he has directed security agencies to launch a complete war against Boko Haram. “We have done a lot and committed resources to advance our security architecture in order to tackle terrorism, and, God willing, we shall overcome,” he said. “My request is for you to stand by me.”

Nigeria’s population of more than 158.2 million is divided between Christians, who make up 51.3 percent of the population and live mainly in the south, and Muslims, who account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north. The percentages may be less, however, as those practicing indigenous religions may be as high as 10 percent of the total population, according to Operation World.


Compass Direct News, CDN


Christian pastor shot dead in Philippines (ANS) 

(ANS) 26 April 2012 -  A pastor of a local Born Again Christian Church in Quezon City, the Philippines, was brutally shot dead in Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City, by two unknown gunmen in front of his teenage daughter at Wednesday night (April 25, 2012).


A local TV clip of the motorcycle that Pastor Germidia was on when he was shot to death

The pastor was identified as Wilfredo Germidia.


Media reports say that Pastor Germidia was shot five times in the head as he was about to alight from his motorcycle to deliver newspapers along Payatas Road.

Relatives of the victim claimed that the victim had “no enemies” and had been a “model family man” and they wondered why he was shot so mercilessly. The motive was not known at this time.

The Philippines has a growing number of gruesome murders of Christian pastors. There’s a strong need for the International Christian Community to investigate these murder cases of pastors in the Philippines and call for the Philippine government to look into these unresolved murder cases of Christian these pastors.

The country also recorded the fastest growing Christian converts in the Southeast Asia region because of church's aggressiveness in Bible studies, campus evangelism and soul-winning programs.


(ANS) Christian pastor shot dead in Philippines                                          http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2012/s12040133.htm                                                                                                Article by Noel Torrazona

Pastor murdered by rebels in India (WorthyNews)

(WorthyNews) 18 April 2012 - A 35-year-old church pastor was murdered in India's southeastern Andhra Pradesh state by suspected Maoist rebels who slit his throat, police and Indian rights activists confirmed Thursday, April 12.

The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF), an Indian non-governmental group, said S Dumbu, also known locally as Bingo, was killed last week April 3 in Jerrela village after masked men knocked at the door of his home.

"They told him that Maoists were waiting for him to discuss an issue. A hesitant Dumbu left with the masked men, while [his wife] Janaki stayed back home," CSF cited a report as saying.

"A few minutes later, the masked man came back to Dumbu’s house and informed Janaki that the Maoists killed the pastor reportedly for his irregularities in the maintenance of church."

The man allegedly also tried to abuse the pastor's wife and fled with money.

No more details were immediately available.


Police reportedly said they suspect three locals in the murder. Officially, Maoists have not claimed the attack and it was not clear whether they had links to the group.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting for over three decades in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural laborers and the poor.

They frequently target police and government officials, whom they accuse of colluding with landlords and rich farmers to exploit the poor, but have also been accused of attacking churches.

On Thursday, April 12, Maoists released an Italian tourist guide abducted more than a month ago from a remote forest area of eastern India after the state government agreed to release five rebels from prison.


Paulo Basusco along with Italian tourist Claudio Colangelo was abducted on March 14 while on a trek in Orissa state. Colangelo was released 11 days later, but Basusco remained in captivity while negotiations took place between the rebels and the government, news reports said.

That was of little comfort however for Christians in Jerrela, where the murdered pastor settled several years ago.

His wife Janaki had to inform their their sons, who were studying at Chintapalle, another in the region, rights activists said.

There have been growing attacks against pastors working in villages and other rural areas of India, Worthy News monitored in recent years.


(WorthyNews) Suspected Maoist rebels kill Indian pastor                                                   http://www.worthynews.com/11398-suspected-maoist-rebels-kill-indian-pastor 

Christian leader beheaded by Islamist group in Mali (ANS)

(ANS) 13 April 2012 - A Christian leader has been beheaded and others are being threatened with similar treatment as Islamic militants run amok in Mali, West Africa.


Islamic troops in Timbuktu

Christians have fled the town of Timbuktu in the north of the country where harsh Sharia Law has already been imposed amid reports that churches in Gao, 200 miles to the east, have been completely destroyed.


The news comes in the wake of a military coup in the country, one of the effects of which is that sanctions applied from outside has cut off electricity supplies, further delaying reports of the latest upheavals along with desperate pleas for help.

Among those affected is British Bible college graduate Timothee (Tim) Yattara, who recently returned home to his home country in a bid to help spread the gospel in this remote – and now dangerous – part of Africa located on the edge of the Sahara.

Tim has fled with his family to Bamako, the country’s main city some 400 miles away in the south-west, but without the money to rent a house.


Tim Yattara

“We have escaped in the wake of horrible death threats as the Islamists have a list of all the Christians in Timbuktu whom they intend to execute by beheading. As proof of their intentions, one leader has already been killed in this way and some churches in Gao have been demolished. Most Christians have already fled for safety, but Sharia Law has been imposed all over the north.


“As refugees in Bamako, life is very difficult for me and my family as we are in desperate need of finance, just to pay for shelter and safety,” he said.

Already suffering famine through drought, Mali is being terrorized by Al Qaida and associated rebels said to be claiming the northern part of the territory as their homeland.

Only last week we were reporting that Timbuktu was surrounded by tents inhabited by impoverished people who have fled the countryside in the wake of the spreading famine, exacerbated by rising unemployment and massive inflation with many struggling to find food and work.

And with a government now overthrown by a coup, the security situation has been made even worse by rebels from Libya loyal to their former leader Col Gaddafi.


(ANS) Christian leader beheaded as Islamist group terrorizes Mali  http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2012/s12040044.htm                                                                                                     Article by Charles Gardner

38 Christians killed in suicide bomb attack in Nigeria (CDN)

(CDN) 10 April 2012 - Churches celebrating Easter services were the targets of a suicide bomber who killed at least 38 people yesterday in Kaduna city in northern Nigeria, sources said.Security personnel at one of the church buildings blocked the bomber, believed to belong to the Boko Haram Islamic sect, who then decided to detonate his explosives in the street at a nearby motorcycle taxi center, the sources said. Dozens of people were injured in addition to those killed.

 The bombs damaged the buildings of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Good News church and the All Nations Christian Assembly, besides blasting off roofs from homes and hotels and destroying vehicles. Located on the same street, Gwari Road, are the Redeemed Christian Church of God and an Assemblies of God church. Luka Binniyat, a Christian resident of the city, told Compass that law enforcement agents believed the ECWA Good News church was the primary target.“Richard Markus, a detective, mentioned that the bomber’s main target was the ECWA Good News church a few meters from the scene of the bomb blast,” Binniyat said.Binniyat said that he saw the explosion at about 9:30 a.m., and shortly afterwards spoke with Markus. 

“The bomber, described as dark, lean-looking and in his mid-30s, approached the ECWA Good News church at around 9:30 a.m., a plainclothes policeman informed us on Gwari road beside a roadblock set up to safeguard the church about 100 meters from its entrance,” Binniyat said. Markus described the suicide bomber as wearing shorts and a T-shirt; he said he had an army uniform in the back of the Honda Academy car he was driving, according to Binniyat.“He tried forcing his way past, but the security man stood in between him and the blockade,” Binniyat said. “He even pushed him a ways before some policemen manning the gate of the church rushed down to the scene.”According to Binniyat, Markus said, “When we saw the uniform, I told him that he was a disgrace to the force. I said he should have been here to help with security instead of trying to be such a nuisance. Anyway, the police, fully armed, told him to move away. He drove away in a reckless manner. “As we were regretting not searching his car, in about four to five minutes, we heard an earth- shaking explosion. The car that exploded was the same car that wanted to enter here.”

Residents of Kaduna who witnessed the attack told Compass some of the church buildings were affected. John Shiklam, a Kaduna-based Christian journalist, said the explosion shattered windows of church buildings and nearby establishments. “A suicide bomber attempted to bomb the ECWA church and the All Nations Christian Assembly, both located at Gwari Road by Junction Road, but security agents repelled him,” Shiklam said. “However, on his way out the bomb exploded at Junction Road, near the Stadium Roundabout, killing the bomber and damaging some commercial vehicles at the junction.” 
Blessing Audu, who witnessed the explosion, confirmed that parts of the Assemblies of God church building were also damaged. 

Emergency rescue workers from the National Emergency Management Authority and the Red Cross removed bodies and evacuated the injured to four hospitals in Kaduna and Zaria. At St. Gerard’s Hospital, staff members told Compass that they had received five bodies and 10 wounded persons. Other hospitals receiving corpses and treating the wounded were Barau Dikko Hospital, Military Hospital and the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital. Boko Haram (literally “Forbidden Book,” translated as “Western education is forbidden”) has targeted state offices, law enforcement sites and some moderate mosques in its effort to destabilize the government and impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria, but Kaduna resident Stanley Yakubu said that Christians are one of its main targets.

“The truth is that there is a deliberate effort to silence or eliminate the Christians in the north,” he said. “Otherwise, why have churches suddenly become the target of suicide bombers? Are there no mosques and Islamic centers in the north? Let the world accept the fact that there is no ‘Boko Haram,’ but ‘Christianity Haram.’”Another resident, Malachy Gwatiyap, told Compass that attacks on Christians must stop. The bomber detonated the bomb in order to kill Christians disembarking from motorcycle taxis heading to their churches, he said.

“It appears from this heinous incident that Boko Haram is changing tactics – if they can’t get Christians in the churches, it would still serve their purpose to get them either on their way to or from church,” he said. “Shall we continue to suffer in silence? Shall we continue to be the sacrificial lambs on the altar of bigotry of these Islamists? We have suffered enough.”


(CDN) Suicide bomber targets Churches in Kaduna, Nigeria  http://www.compassdirect.org/english/country/nigeria/article_1499111.html 

Islamic extremists behead another convert in Somalia (Compass)

(Compass) 9 February 2012 - Islamic extremists from the rebel al Shabaab militia in Somalia beheaded a Christian on the outskirts of Mogadishu last month, sources said.

The militants fighting the transitional government in Mogadishu murdered Zakaria Hussein Omar, 26, on Jan. 2 in Cee-carfiid village, about 15 kilometers (nine miles) outside of the Somali capital, they said. Omar had worked for a Christian humanitarian organization that al Shabaab banned last year.

His body was left lying for 20 hours before nomads found it and carried it into Mogadishu, a close friend said. 

“We have been communicating with Omar, and he was sharing with me his life as a Christian,” the friend said. “Last year he mentioned to me that his life was in danger when the NGO [Non-Governmental Organization] he worked for was banned by the al Shabaab.”

The friend said he identified the body. 

“One of the persons who saw him said, ‘This is the young man who stayed in Ethiopia, and people have been saying that he left Islam and joined Christianity.’”

Omar converted to Christianity seven years ago while in Ethiopia, where he lived with relatives. He returned to Somalia in 2008 and completed his university education in 2009 with a degree in accounting.

Omar had married in the latter part of 2010. He is survived by his wife, his parents (originally from central Somalia), a brother and four sisters.

Last September, the militants beheaded another young Christian near Mogadishu. The militants, who have vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity, killed Guled Jama Muktar on Sept. 25 in his home near Deynile, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Mogadishu (See www.compassdirect.org, “Islamic Extremists in Somalia Behead 17-year-old Christian,” Oct. 19, 2011). 

Earlier that month, a kidnapped Christian convert from Islam was found decapitated on the outskirts of Hudur City in Bakool region, in southwestern Somalia. Juma Nuradin Kamil was forced into a car by three suspected Islamic extremists from the al Shabaab terrorist group on Aug. 21, 2011 and murdered on Sept. 2, area sources said (See www.compassdirect.org, “Somali Convert to Christianity Kidnapped, Beheaded,” Sept. 12, 2011). 

With estimates of al Shabaab’s size ranging from 3,000 to 7,000, the insurgents seek to impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law), but the transitional government in Mogadishu fighting to retain control of the country treats Christians little better than the al Shabaab extremists do. While proclaiming himself a moderate, President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed has embraced a version of sharia that mandates the death penalty for those who leave Islam. 

Al Shabaab was among several splinter groups that emerged after Ethiopian forces removed the Islamic Courts Union, a group of sharia courts, from power in Somalia in 2006. It has been designated a terrorist organization by several western governments.


Compass Direct News


Two Missionaries murdered in Mexico (ASSIST)

(ASSIST) 03 February 2012 -A dedicated Texas missionary couple strangled in their Mexico home knew how much danger they were in, but refused to leave the people they cared for, according to a friend from their sponsor church in Texas.


John and Wanda Casias, the Texas missionaries

This has been revealed in a story by Christina Ng writing on the ABC News website.


“They had opportunities to return, but these are their people. It would be like abandoning family. We don't abandon family,” Karen Mosley, the secretary for Liberty Baptist Church in Lewisville, Texas, toldwww.ABCNews.com. “We lost a couple of great prayer warriors.”

The story says that John and Wanda Casias were found dead at their home near Monterrey, Mexico, on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, by one of their 10 children. They had been living and working in Mexico for nearly 30 years and began their ministry there in 1983.

“It was the second time in a year that an American missionary was killed in Mexico. Nancy Davis, 59, was shot in the head in January 2011 when she and her husband were attacked at an illegal road block,” said Ng.

“In the latest assault, Shawn Casias had come to pick up a trailer from his parents' home and when he went inside, he found his mother Wanda Casias, 67, lying on the floor with an electrical cord around her neck and a head wound, according to the Associated Press. His father John Casias, 76, was found in the storage room of a building on the property with an electrical cord around his neck.”


John Casias preaching

A safe, several electronics and the couple's car were missing from the home. All of the surveillance cameras had been disabled, said ABC News.


“They had all kinds of updated security measures, which makes us all believe it was somebody he knew or he wouldn't have let them in,” Mosley said. She said they lived on a walled property and had a gate.

Mosley said church members used to go on missions every other year to the area where the Casias couple lived, until about four years ago when things became too dangerous for them to travel there. Fighting between drug cartels over the past few years made Monterrey an extremely dangerous place.

“John doesn't allow visitors to come to his place anymore. It's that bad,” Mosley said. “There are no more policemen, they're all dead. The last mayor was murdered. All they have there are soldiers.”

The couple had discussed what they wanted, should anything ever happen to them, with members of the church, Mosley said. The couple said that if they were to be kidnapped, they did not want anyone to pay ransom for them.

“They would not allow it,” Mosley said. “They knew it was dangerous. They were just cautious and they made a pact.”

The couple maintained a website, www.casias.org, with details and photos about their missionary work.


John Casias conducting a baptism in Mexico

“John was a character. He was one funny person, but he took his love of his Lord very seriously. He was hard working, loving, caring and would give you whatever you need, if he had it,” Mosley said. “Wanda was a very sweet lady, always got a hug and a smile. She would ask, 'What can I pray for you for?' She was always praying.”


The attack on the Casias comes year after Nancy Davis and her husband Sam were ambushed.

“The couple, also from Texas, were driving along a highway 70 miles south of the border town of Reynosa, Mexico, when they approached an illegal roadblock. Rather than stop, they continued driving and were chased by several gunmen in a black pick-up truck,” added Ng in her story.

“The pursuing gunmen fired at Davis' truck, and a bullet hit Nancy Davis in the head. Sam Davis sped away to a border checkpoint and his wife was rushed to a hospital, but she did not survive.”


(ASSIST) Missionaries Killed in Mexico Knew They Were in Danger, Friend Says                http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2012/s12020015.htm

Two Coptic Christians murdered in Egypt (AINA)

(AINA) 27 January 2012 - Two Copts were killed this afternoon in the village of Bahgourah, a suburb of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, after a Muslim racketeer opened fire on them for refusing to pay him extortion money. Three days ago Ahmed Saber had asked from the Coptic building contractor Moawad Asaad for a considerable sum of money. This afternoon Saber drove to Moawad's home to collect the money, but Moawad refused to go to his car to speak to him for fear of being kidnapped. Four men came out of the car with machine guns and shot Moawad and his 26-year-old son Asaad Moawad, an engineer. Both were killed instantly.

Bishop Kyrollos of Nag Hammadi said that Ahmed Saber, who is known to the police, has been extorting money from the Coptic community and kidnapping their children for ransom since November last year. "Reports were filed with the police about all incidents. I don't know why the police have not arrested him," said the Bishop.

Presently over 4000 Copts are staging a sit-in in front of Nag Hammadi police headquarters until Ahmed Saber and his accomplices are caught. It was reported that the police have brought in four central security vehicles to manage the crowd of protesters.

Bishop Kyrollos said "I hold security forces and the Muslims of Bahgourah fully responsible for terrorizing the Copts living there." He called on the authorities in Cairo and the interior minister to provide protection for the Copts in the Nag Hammadi area, "who are continuously being subjected to terror and kidnapping."


(AINA) Two Copts Killed in Egypt For Refusing to Pay Extortion Money                         http://www.aina.org/news/20120126173659.htm                                                                                                         Article by Mary Abdelmassih

7 Christians murdered as Boko Haram attacks church in Nigeria (CDN)

(CDN) 25 January 2012 - Early morning attacks in Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi state on Sunday (Jan. 22) left at least seven Christians dead and a church building destroyed.

The attack on the Evangelical Church Winning All Church 2, residents of Tafawa Balewa said, was carried out by area Islamic extremists alongside members of the Boko Haram sect, with the church building and surrounding houses bombed. Yunnana Yusufu, a pastor with the Church of Christ in Nigeria in Tafawa Balewa, told Compass that the assailants arrived in the early morning hours and began shooting at Christians in the town, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Bauchi City. 
“I saw seven dead bodies of some of the Christians killed,” Yusufu told Compass by phone. “The situation is terrible, and I am about to go out to other parts of the town, to see the extent of the damage caused by the attackers.”
Yusufu said that many other Christians were injured. “Some of them have been taken to the General Hospital here, while others are being treated at home by medical personnel who are Christians,” he said.
All churches have cancelled services. “The situation we are in calls for attention to the injured and taking appropriate steps to calm frayed nerves over the attack,” he said. 
Bauchi Police Commissioner Ikechukwu Aduba reportedly confirmed the attack on Tafawa Balewa, saying two soldiers and a policeman, as well as eight civilians were later killed in a gunfight. He added that six suspects had been arrested. Police also reported that bombs were thrown at a Catholic church building and an evangelical church building in Bauchi City, causing little damage and no deaths or injuries.
Bukata Zhadi, secretary of the Christian Elders Council in Tafawa Balewa, said attacks on Christian communities in the area have been incessant, with Sunday’s attack bringing to 10 the number of Christians killed in the past two weeks in Tafawa Balewa.A fortnight ago, gunmen believed to be Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked three Christian farmers on their farms in Pyakman village, near Tafawa Balewa, killing the three of them. Corpses recovered from the farms had bullet wounds and machete cuts, Zhadi said.
Boko Haram, the name given to the Islamic extremist group officially called Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad – “The People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad” – seeks to impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law) on Nigeria. The name Boko Haram translates loosely as “Western education is forbidden.” 


(CDN) Seven Christians killed in Bauchi state, Nigeria


Nigerian Christians face jihad (TheTelegraph)

(TheTelegraph) 11 January 2012 - Like many other Christian outposts in the spiritual homeland of Nigeria's "Taliban", the Victory Baptist Church in the northern desert city of Maiduguri no longer just relies on God for protection.

A modest whitewashed spire in a skyline dominated by mosques, for the last month it has had a military guard to defend it from Boko Haram, the militant local Islamist sect blamed for a string of terror attacks nationwide in recent weeks.

The soldiers in the sandbagged machinegun nest outside the church, though, were unable save three members of the flock last week.

On Wednesday evening, three days after Boko Haram ordered all Christians to leave Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria for good, Ousman Adurkwa, a 65-year-old local trader, answered the door of his home near the church to what he thought was an after-hours customer. Instead it was two masked gunmen.

"They shot my father dead, and then came for the rest of the family," Mr Adurkwa's other son Hyeladi, 25, told The Sunday Telegraph the following day. "One chased my brother Moussa and killed him, and the other shot at me, but my mother took the bullet in the stomach instead." 

Hyeladi spoke as weeping parishioners gathered for an impromptu memorial service in the Adurkwa family compound, where the parlour carpet was still stained with blood from the gunshot wound suffered by Mrs Aduwurka, 50, who now lies in hospital.


(TheTelegraph) Nigeria's descent into holy war 


Article by Colin Freeman 

Leader of Christian minority in Israel stabbed to death (BosNewsLife)

(BosNewsLife) 10 January 2012 - A leader of Israel's Christian minority has been stabbed to death by a man dressed as Santa Claus, prompting the arrest of six locals in connection with the murder, church and police officials said Saturday, January 7.

Gabriel Cadis, the chairman of the Jaffa Orthodox Church Association, was reportedly killed late Friday, January 6, in Jaffa, a predominantly Arab port district of Tel Aviv. Witnesses said he was attacked by a person dressed as Santa Clause while marching during a parade marking Jesus's birth according to the Eastern church calender.

Police said the stabbing occurred at the end of a march held by the Christian community along a Jaffa street. “People nearby evacuated him from the scene,” Police spokesman Moshe Katz told The Jerusalem Post news paper.

Cadis was rushed to Wolfson Medical Center in nearby Holon where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, the news paper reported.

A funeral procession was held for him in Jaffa on Saturday, January 7, with over an estimated thousand mourners joining the Cadis family home to St. George Church. There was no claim of responsibility and police said they do not suspect a religiously motivated attack. Yet, the violence was expected to add to mounting religious tensions in Israel.

Hardline Orthdox groups have been linked to attacks against women as well as against Messianic Jews, who believe that Jesus is the Messiah.


(BosNewsLife) "santa clause" kills Christian leader in Israel


29 Christians killed in the past week in Nigeria (ICC)

(ICC) 09 January 2012 - International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that members of a radical Islamic group, Boko Haram, have killed 29 Christians in the past two days. The Islamists killed twenty Christians today in Mubi after killing nine Christians yesterday in attacks against a church in Gombe.

The twenty martyred Christians were gunned down while holding a meeting to discuss ways to transport a body of a fellow Christian who was killed in an attack a day earlier. The martyrs in the Gombe attack were attending a worship service at Deeper Life Church in Gombe when the attack took place. The wife of the church’s pastor was among the martyrs.

The killings followed a threat issued on Sunday by Boko Haram telling Christians to leave northern Nigeria within three days. The group fights for the implementation of a strict form of Sharia law all over Nigeria, including in the southern region of Nigeria where Christians are the majority.
The Islamists also killed more than 40 Christians on Christmas day. The Nigerian government declared a state of emergency to contain anti-Christian violence.

“This is rather unfortunate that despite the call by religious leaders for people to exercise restraint, still mischievous Muslim terrorists and their supporters will go to places where innocent Christians worship and kill them,” said Rev. James Wuye, a northern Nigerian church leader.

Rev. Wuye urged the Nigerian Christians not to resort to revenge in the face of increasing attacks. He said, “I ask Christians in Nigeria that we should exercise restraint and pray that the God of Elijah will surely fight for us. And Christians should show love for their neighbors because that is what Jesus Christ teaches.” 


(ICC)  Nigerian radical Muslims kill 29 Christians in two days


5 Christians killed in Nigeria church attack (AP)

(AP) 06 January 2012 - Gunmen attacked a church in northeast Nigeria during a prayer service Thursday night, killing at least five people and wounding others in an assault that occurred amid an increasingly violent campaign by a radical Muslim sect.

Pastor Johnson Jauro said the gunfire sprayed the Deeper Life Church in Gombe, the capital of Gombe state, injuring several worshippers and killing his wife and two others. He spoke at a local hospital, where a joint team of soldiers and police officers stood guard. Two other people later died at the hospital from their wounds and an Associated Press reporter saw their bodies.

Local police spokesman Ahmed Muhammad confirmed the attack, but declined to say how many people the gunmen killed and wounded.

The assault occurred as Nigeria remains under attack by the sect known as Boko Haram. The oil-rich nation's president recently put regions of the country under a state of emergency due to the threat, but that did not include Gombe, which sits about 350 miles (570 kilometers) from Nigeria's central capital, Abuja.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion immediately fell on Boko Haram. The sect has carried out increasingly sophisticated and bloody attacks in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, is responsible for more than 500 killings this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The group claimed responsibility for an attack that killed at least 39 people in a Christmas Day bombing of a Catholic church near Abuja, as well as a suicide car bombing targeting the U.N. headquarters in the capital that killed 25 people and wounded more than 100.

Nigeria's weak central government has been slow to respond to the sect.

On Dec. 31, President Goodluck Jonathan declared regions of Borno, Niger, Plateau and Yobe states to be under a state of emergency — meaning authorities can make arrests without proof and conduct searches without warrants. He also ordered international borders near Borno and Yobe state to be closed.

However, it remains unclear what effect that will have on a sect that has adopted hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings to target the country's military and police, as well as civilians.

Meanwhile, a military spokesman said Thursday that soldiers killed two armed men suspected to be Boko Haram members after "resisting arrest" in the northeastern city of Maiduguri. Lt. Col. Hassan Ifijeh Mohammed said the army believes the gunmen were responsible for an attack Wednesday evening that left two people dead.

However, human rights activists say security forces have carried out so-called "extra-judicial killings" out of frustration and anger at being unable to stop Boko Haram. 


(Associated Press)  5 dead, others wounded in Nigeria church attack



Vatican City publishes list of workers killed in 2011 (Fides)

(Fides) 05 January 2012 - Once again this year, Fides publishes an annual document of all the pastoral workers who lost their lives in a violent manner over the course of the last 12 months. According to information in our possession, during 2011, 26 pastoral care workers were killed: one more than the previous year: 18 priests, 4 religious sisters, 4 lay people.

For the third consecutive year, the place most affected, with an extremely elevated number of pastoral workers killed is AMERICA, bathed with the blood of 13 priests and 2 lay persons. Following is AFRICA, where 6 pastoral workers were killed: 2 priests, 3 religious sisters,1 lay person. ASIA, where 2 priests, 1 religious sister, 1 lay person were killed. The least affected was EUROPE, where one priest was killed.







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