Displaying items by tag: Africa
Attacks by jihadi rebels in central Mali have killed 132 civilians, showing that Islamic extremist violence is spreading from Mali’s north to more central areas. For several weeks rebels have been blocking the road between Gao in the north and Mopti in central Mali. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali is concerned by the extremist attacks against civilians in the Bandiagara region that have caused casualties and displaced populations. In a separate incident, a U.N. peacekeeper died from injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device. Since the beginning of 2022, several attacks have killed U.N. uniformed peacekeepers. Attacks on peacekeepers constitute war crimes. The U.N. peacekeeping mission began after France went there to remove rebels who were capturing cities and major towns the year before (2014). They currently have 12,000 troops, 2,000 police and other officers in Mali. Over 270 peacekeepers have died in the U.N.’s deadliest peacekeeping mission.
Five human rights organisations want Spain and Morocco to investigate the deaths of 18 migrants, the injuries of 76 others, and the actions of 140 Moroccan security officers when migrants attempted to scale a fence separating the two countries. Spain's Commission for Refugees decried ‘indiscriminate use of violence to manage migration and control borders had prevented people who were eligible for international protection from reaching Spanish soil’. Meanwhile, UNHCR is asking both Africa and Europe to enhance legal frameworks and operational capacities at land and sea borders and urban centres plus youth programming and local community-based development as alternatives to dangerous journeys. In America the bodies of 51 dead migrants were discovered inside a lorry in San Antonio. An official said they found ‘stacks of bodies and no water in the truck. Sixteen survivors are in hospital with heat stroke and exhaustion, including four minors. No children were among the dead. See
An ongoing civil war threatens to tear Ethiopia apart. The latest event is a massacre of over 200 members of the Amhara ethnic group on 19 June. Witnesses claim the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), a group authorised by the government, was responsible. The OLA denied carrying out the killings, claiming it was committed by a militia group aligned with prime minister Abiy Ahmed and his regional government. The northern region of Tigray saw a rebellion in 2020; this massacre is the worst since then. No one is innocent in this ongoing civil war - both sides have committed mass killings, sexual violence, and ethnic cleansing. The Tigray Liberation Front has joined forces with the OLA against the government on many occasions. Mr Abiy faces many challenges trying to consolidate power among the many ethnic groups, especially the Amharas. Please pray for the different ethnic groups to realise they must work together for peace in nonviolent ways.
Police officers walked into a church Bible class and took into custody Pastor Kabashi Idris of the African Inland Church and evangelist Yacoub Ishakh of the Independent Baptist Church. They were charged with violating public order under Article 77 of Sudan’s penal code, and then released. A radical Muslim neighbour had filed a case against them, prompting the police to arrest them. He had told police his children were singing the songs of the Christians and feared they might convert to Christianity. His house is near the church and last month he filed a complaint that the church was disturbing the peace by worshipping in song. A guilty verdict could result in a three-month prison sentence, a fine, or both, and the court could issue an order to cease worship services.
Christians in Egypt are typically treated as second-class citizens, so many believers are attacked. One was Sara. She was walking along a street without wearing a veil, which distinguished her as a Christian, and she was praying. Suddenly she felt a sharp object hit her body. ‘Dirty Christian, die!’ she heard a man shouting as her legs began to tremble and she fell to the ground. Sara miraculously survived. She has forgiven her attacker and regularly prays for him. ‘I hope that God will touch his heart,’ she says.
The Nigerian government is about to pass a bill that will punish those who pay ransoms with up to fifteen years in prison. It would also give a death sentence to those who commit abductions. Armed groups have kidnapped hundreds of people for ransom across Nigeria over the last two years. Most recently, a ransom of $240,000 was paid by the Nigerian Methodist Church after eight gunmen abducted its head, His Eminence Samuel Kanu, and two other pastors while they were on their way to the airport in Nigeria’s southeastern state of Abia. The clergymen’s driver and one other church member managed to escape. The 69-year-old recounted how the abductors showed them the rotted bodies of previous victims, threatening to do the same with him. Archbishop Chibuzo Opoko, who heads the Methodist church in Abia State, said paying the ransom was necessary.
Two of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram extremists in 2014 have completed their master’s degrees in the USA. Lydia Pogu completed a masters in Human Services Administration, and Joy Bishara a masters in Social Work. ‘Boko Haram told us that school is a taboo for women and warned us that if we went back to school, they would come for us,’ said Lydia. ‘I thought all my dreams had changed, but God had a different plan for me.’
Kerry worked in a Christian hospital in sub-Saharan Africa as a physiotherapist to bring healing and hope to people largely unreached with the Christian message. Based in north Cameroon, she became part of a multinational (and non-denominational) team offering medical - and sometimes miraculous - solutions to the Fulbe (also known as Fulani) tribe. A gentle, gracious and unhurried people, the Fulbe are mostly Muslim. But many are now following Jesus, and they do not always first hear about him through the missionaries. Extended family groups, even across the border into Chad, have come together after having dreams of Jesus, asking Kerry and her colleagues to teach them more about the faith. A young man called Mohammed, whom Kerry introduced to Jesus four years ago, has since visited several of these groups, feeding their hunger to know more about this wonderful person who appeared to them in their sleep.
On 31 May the UN's top humanitarian official for the Horn of Africa predicted a devastating outlook for millions of Somalis, amid worsening famine. Before the end of 2022, 7.1 million people will be affected by drought and famine. He said that 1.4 million children face acute malnutrition, and 330,000 are likely to become severely malnourished. Currently 6.1 million Somalis are affected by this drought emergency. Of that number, 771,400 (mostly women and children) have been displaced from their homes in search of water, food and pasture. The outlook has worsened due to the prospects of a fifth consecutive failed rainy season. Pray for God to strengthen and empower all who are providing aid to the hundreds of thousands experiencing acute food insecurity. Pray for medics and medication to be released to those experiencing severe malnutrition and acute watery diarrhoea. Pray for those mourning the deaths of loved ones.
Gunmen burst into St Francis Catholic Church in Ondo state. They opened fire and set off explosives, killing dozens of worshippers, including many children, who were celebrating Mass on Pentecost Sunday. Legislator Adelegbe Timileyin told local media that at least fifty people were dead. While much of Nigeria has struggled with security issues, Ondo is widely known as one of the country’s most peaceful states. Its state governor said, ‘This vile and satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom. I appeal to our people to maintain calm and let the security agencies take charge. The perpetrators will never escape. We are after them. And I can assure you we will get them.’ While radical Fulani militants have terrorised the Middle Belt region over the past two decades, authorities are still investigating the source of Sunday’s attack.