Continue to pray with Christians in West Africa’s Sahel region (which includes Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger). An attack in Mali has killed an estimated 95 people, including men, women and children—a third of the village. While there are conflicting reports on the death toll, major news outlets reported “officials say 95 people have been found dead.” A contact on the ground in Mali confirmed that all those who died were Christians.
On Sunday evening, June 9, The Fulani are a large ethnic group in West Africa. A third of all Fulani people are pastoralists, making them the largest nomadic community in the world. Muslim militants fired shots and set fire to the central Mali village of Sobame Da, near Sanga in the Mopti region. Many of the bodies were found burned.
A survivor of the attacks who called himself Amadou Togo told the AFP news agency: “About 50 heavily armed men arrived on motorbikes and pickups. They first surrounded the village and then attacked–anyone who tried to escape was killed.”
He added: “No one was spared–women, children, elderly people.”
According to a government statement, the attackers also killed animals and burned down houses.
A Malian security source at the site of the massacre said: “A Dogon village has been virtually wiped out.”
Mali has been immersed in conflict since 2013, when Islamist militants who had captured much of the country’s desert north established themselves in the country’s central and southern regions. They were pushed back to the Sahara in 2013 but eventually, reports the BBC, “the uprising—which had spread to the centre of Mali by 2015—decreased government control and increased the availability of weapons. ”
Throughout West Africa, especially in northern Nigeria, clashes with Fulani militants among the predominantly Muslim group have claimed thousands of lives as they raze entire villages and brutally kill and rape. In the attacks, Christians are indiscriminately targeted and Muslims are mostly spared. With less than 1 percent of professing Christians among them, they are yet unreached with the gospel. Almost 100 percent follow Islam, although there are varying degrees of dedication to Islam.
PRAYING WITH CHRISTIANS IN MALI and the Sahel
Although the realities of violence like these attacks can be overwhelming, we have repeatedly seen how the Lord sovereignly uses the Body of Christ to bring hope and remind Christians on the front lines that they are not forgotten. These Christ followers are risking their lives to follow Jesus.
- Pray that God would be near to our brokenhearted brothers and sisters in Mali and throughout Africa. Ask God to be tangibly close.
- Ask God to pour out His Spirit of love, order and calm over these communities. Pray for safety and protection in the days ahead.
- Ask God to intervene in this violence and bring the persecutors to justice. These attacks have gone on for too long.
- As we see the magnitude of these attacks and previous ones, pray that God would end this movement.
- Pray that God’s grace and mercy would be at work in this tragedy.
- Pray with Christians and church leaders in the Semiarid region of Western and North-Central Africa extending from Senegal eastward to Sudan. It forms a transitional zone between the arid Sahara (desert) to the north and the belt of humid savannas to the south. as God works through them to bring His comfort and strength.
representative photo used for security reasons
Open Doors has teams working in Mali—supporting victims of violence and providing economic improvement projects alongside training and literature.