Newsflashes from the Persecuted Church
Between October 23-25, suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked various villages east of the Borno State capital of Maiduguri. The group abducted approximately 30 young people from the village of Mafa about 35 miles east of Maiduguri. The chief of the village, Alhaji Shettima Maina, told media, “The insurgents took all boys 13 and over… and all girls 11 and over. According to our information, 30 young people were abducted in the last two days.” Maina said at least 17 people have been killed in attacks on several towns in the area.
The previous week, suspected Boko Haram members attacked the villages of Wagga and Gwarta, and abducted as many as 60 people. Residents of the town of Wagga said 40 females were kidnapped by suspected Islamist gunmen who went door-to-door, specifically looking for young women and girls.
Witnesses in the nearby town of Gwarta reported a kidnapping during the weekend involving another 20 female victims, but details were not immediately clear. The attackers took three of John Kwaghe’s daughters and two of Dorathy Tishe’s daughters. The parents told Reuters that the kidnappers came late in the night and forced all the women to go with them, but later released the older ones.
Open Doors’ researcher in Nigeria, Isaac, reported: “These are Christian villages and the people abducted are Christians. Sources told us the people were trying to escape their villages as Boko Haram invaded and captured them. A lot of abduction is taking place on a daily basis.”
He added that, “many believers are trapped on mountains without food and water. Many of them are sick.” Boko Haram controls the area with no signs of help from the Nigerian military.
India: Dalit Christians Left Out of Government Assistance
“India should not extend government job and education assistance to the country’s poorest Christians,” India’s social justice minister, Thavar Chand Gehlot, said this month and reported by World Watch Monitor.
For one thing, he said, there are no Christians among India’s Dalits, a name given to the country’s most impoverished and marginalized citizens, sometimes called “untouchables”. Also, extending government benefits to poor Christians would encourage poor Hindu Indians to convert in hopes of qualifying for the programs.
The minister’s statements, provided Oct. 10 to the Times of India, drew scoffs from activists who work with Christian Dalits. Advocates for Christian and Muslim Dalits have tried for decades to gain access to the government’s job and education assistance.
“As a Dalit Christian leader, I have to state that the position of the minister is unfortunate,” Rev. Kumar Swamy, national secretary of the All India Christian Council, told World Watch Monitor. “The constitution clearly states that citizens will not be discriminated on the basis of religion.”
Uzbekistan: Police Raid Home of Church Leader
Open Doors is calling for prayers for Aziz (name has been changed for security reasons), a leader of an evangelical church in a city in Uzbekistan. Last week, when Aziz’s family was not at home, their house was broken into by police. The police raided the house without permission of the owners.
Aziz’s son recorded the raid on his cell phone from a neighbor’s home. The same night, Aziz came back with his family and was immediately taken to the police office for interrogation. Please pray for God’s protection for Aziz and his family.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.