WhatFinger

Persecution and Prayer Alert, Voice of the Martyrs

NIGERIA: Dozens of Believers Murdered in Recent Weeks


By —— Bio and Archives--January 15, 2015

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Source: Release International

At least 28 Christians were brutally murdered by militants during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s.
On January 2nd, Fulani militants torched houses and killed 15 people in Ambe-Madaki village, Kaduna State. Ten others in the same area were murdered days earlier on December 27th. In Plateau State, Fulani gunmen killed three Christians in Kantoma village on New Year’s Eve. One of the believers was gruesomely beheaded, creating a wave of panic. In Gombe city, Gombe State, a suicide bomb attack caused injuries to at least eight Christians who were guarding a New Year’s Day prayer service. The explosion is thought to be the work of the Muslim militant group Boko Haram, in keeping with their declaration of an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria. Churches, which are often the target of Boko Haram bomb attacks, were thankfully spared over Christmas.

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“Christians in northern Nigeria face attack on two fronts: by Fulani militants who want their land, and Boko Haram who want an Islamic state,” explains Paul Robinson, the Chief Executive Officer of Release International (VOMC’s sister mission in the UK). He further notes the concern that Boko Haram may attempt to step up their attacks prior to the country’s forthcoming elections in February.

In the midst of ongoing chaos and carnage in Nigeria, pray that God will grant much needed peace and strength to the assaulted church there. In particular, may those now grieving the loss of loved ones due to these latest attacks be greatly comforted and given the ability to extend grace and forgiveness to the persecutors. Also pray that those recuperating from injuries will experience a full and swift recovery. In the coming weeks, may adequate security measures be taken to ensure safety for all citizens during the election, and may those elected work for greater stability in Nigeria.

To post your own prayers and petitions for our persecuted family in Nigeria, go to our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.

LIBYA: Egyptian Christians Abducted by Militants

Sources: Release International, Morning Star News, VOM Australia

A Libyan militant group affiliated with ISIS abducted 13 Egyptian Christians on January 3rd—the third such attack on Egyptian believers in the span of two weeks.
In the early hours of the morning, gunmen from what they themselves refer to as the “Islamic State of Tripoli” raided a housing complex in the coastal city of Sirte and kidnapped the 13 believers, who were specifically selected because of their Christian faith. All of those abducted happen to be closely related family members who are originally from Minya, Upper Egypt. They had reportedly come to Libya to work in construction.

One of the missing men’s relatives shared of his grief: “The feeling of depression and worry and sadness is indescribable. But if it’s God’s will for them to be martyrs for the name of Christ like the apostles, (serving as) a witness to the kidnappers, we pray God will provide grace, peace and acceptance of His will.”

Previously, on December 30th, seven Christians were kidnapped as they attempted to drive back to Egypt on the road that passes through Sirte. Just days prior to this incident, on December 23rd, a Christian couple had been shot and killed at their home in the city; their teenage daughter was kidnapped and later tragically murdered.

Libya has increasingly become lawless as rival militias vie for power. In particular, the city of Sirte is renowned as a stronghold for these Islamic militant groups.

Let us lift up the country of Libya to our Father in prayer, asking that His Spirit touch the hearts of those perpetrating such atrocious acts of violence. As a result of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, may the citizens of Libya—specifically those in the city of Sirte—turn to faith in Jesus Christ. Pray on behalf of the many believers who have been kidnapped in recent weeks and their concerned loved ones, that they may indeed be blessed with God’s grace and peace…accepting His will in each of their situations. Also remember those who are mourning the loss of the brutally murdered Christians. In the midst of their grief, may they, too, receive the ministry of God’s comforting presence and the strength He so lovingly promises.

To learn more about Libya’s persecuted church, please visit our website.

RECENT PRISONER UPDATE

EGYPT: Convert Wins Partial Appeal, Yet Remains Imprisoned

Sources: Morningstar News, Christian Solidarity Worldwide

A convert to Christianity who was sentenced to five years in prison for documenting attacks on believers has won a partial victory on appeal, but must remain in jail because of prior blasphemy charges.
On December 28th, an appeals judge found 31-year-old Bishoy Armia Boulous (previously known as Mohammed Hegazy) not guilty on a charge of spreading information meant to “cause harm or damage to the public interest” and not guilty on the closely related charge of spreading false news “bound to weaken” Egypt’s “prestige” or harm the “country’s national interests.” Bishoy, however, was found guilty of an unidentified charge (likely that of inciting sectarian strife) and sentenced to one year in prison.

Since Bishoy has already spent more than a year in prison while waiting for his trial and appeal to take place, technically, he should have been granted release at the conclusion of the recent hearing. Instead, Bishoy has been held without an opportunity to post bail because of the blasphemy charges filed against him five years ago by two Islamist lawyers. His attorneys believe the state, in effect, has taken an active role in punishing Bishoy for his conversion by holding him on charges past their statutory limit and, as mentioned, doing so without any possibility of bail. Sources have also reported that Bishoy has endured abuse while imprisoned, including verbal and physical assaults and times of solitary confinement. (For more information on Bishoy’s imprisonment, visit our website.)

Despite this disappointing news, please pray that Bishoy will remain confident in his Saviour and Lord, knowing that true freedom is only found in Him. Yet, as he serves this remaining sentence, let us continue praying for his physical freedom from prison, so that he may very soon be allowed to return home to his struggling wife and young children. Please intercede on behalf of those who have brought all these charges against Bishoy, as well as the guards abusing him, that they may also come to know Jesus Christ as their Redeemer!

For more information about the trials our Christian family faces in Egypt, read our Country Report.

Additional Prisoner Update: Wenxi Li Has Been Released from Prison!

In the December 4th edition of the Persecution & Prayer Alert, we requested prayer for the anticipated release of Wenxi Li, a Christian bookstore employee. We are pleased to announce that he was indeed released from prison on December 18th, and is reportedly in good health. For more information about Wenxi, you can read our previous alert.


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