Under Fire in Somalia

October 24, 2013 by Open Doors in General

Somalia military

On Saturday, Oct 19, a suicide bombing at a restaurant in the central Somali town of Beledweyne killed at least 15 and injured several more. The popular restaurant is frequented by Somali government soldiers as well as African Union soldiers from Ethiopia and Djibouti. Beledweyne is a strategic town, located 185 miles north of the capital of Mogadishu, close to the Ethiopian border. According to the AFP, a French news agency, al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda linked extremist group responsible for September’s four-day siege on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, claimed responsibility for the attack.

In the Somali Federation, Christians remain marginalized, threatened and criminalized. According to the Open Doors’ 2013 World Watch List, it ranks No. 5 among the countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. In Somalia persecution almost always means extreme physical violence in every sphere of life-private, family, community and national. Exposure as a Christian means immediate danger and often execution on the spot.

But in spite of the dangers an Open Doors field staff member testifies of the strong faith of Somali believers, “Amid the hardest times of persecution and executions of Christians, they have remained steadfast, holding on to their Christian faith secretly.”

Father, we pray for the protection of Somali Christians as they face constant danger. With al-Shabab stepping up its offensive in recent months, we pray that governments throughout East Africa will be able to drive al-Shabab out of their borders and disempower them altogether. Thank You for the testimony of Christians in Somalia who despite the dangers have persevered in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Grant them the grace and strength to continue in faith that Your Kingdom may be extended throughout the nation of Somalia and indeed throughout East Africa. In the name of Jesus who comforts His people in their sorrow and fear, Amen.

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