ERITREA: More Than 140 Arrested Sources: Release International, The Africa Report
As Eritrea begins week-long celebrations leading up to their Independence Day on May 24th, efforts to prevent any sign of dissent have resulted in the detainment of more than 140 Christians. The arrests happened at a private gathering in the Mai Temenai area of Asmara on May 17th. Of those arrested, 14 were children.
Some of the detained Christians are believed to be in the Adi Abeito prison; others are still being held by police. Eritrea is ruled by a one-party dictatorship, and its human rights record is among the worst in the world. With recent protests in neighbouring Sudan bringing down the government, security has been strong on the streets of Eritrea to ensure no similar situation happens there. Contacts in the country say that the streets are filled with police and secret police agents to deter any demonstrations.
In further action to prevent protests, Internet access has also been shut down in the country. With only about one percent of the population having Internet access, the prevalence of social media is minimal.
When a peace agreement with Ethiopia was reached in July 2018, it was hoped that conditions might improve in this oppressive nation. However, there has been no progress in human rights seen by international observers. For more information on Eritrea, as well as ways that The Voice of the Martyrs Canada has been involved in reaching out to the Eritrean people, visit our country report.
Please pray for the many Christians facing oppression throughout Eritrea. Ask God to sustain and strengthen the hundreds being detained for their faith, along with those involved in this most recent incident. May He also work in the lives of President Afwerki and other government leaders, so that they too would come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and respect the freedoms of their people.
NEPAL: Assaulted Pastor Recovering from Trauma Sources: Morning Star News, Christianity Today
More than a month after Pastor Dhurba Kumar Pariyar was attacked by Maoist rebels, he remains in pain and faces mental trauma. Despite that, he has found strength in the Scriptures, as well as the testimonies of others who have suffered for their faith.
Pastor Dhurba was riding a motorcycle on his way back from distributing toys and supplies to poor children when he was stopped by two other motorcyclists. After confirming his identity, the pastor was pulled off and dragged towards the jungle. The attackers accused him of preaching a foreign religion and bribing people to convert. While beating him, they threatened his life if he did not hand over any American money that was with him at the scene. The men fled when a vehicle passed by and the headlights fell on them.
The injured pastor was released after receiving treatment in hospital. Although a police report was filed, at last indication, the perpetrators had not been found. Pastor Dhurba and his wife, who are the parents of a five-year-old son, have served the Devotees Nepali Assembly in Kathmandu since 2011.
In October 2017, a bill was passed restricting religious conversion and instituting fines for anyone found to be involved in converting others. The law came into effect during August 2018 and, since that time, there has been an apparent increase in the overall persecution of Christians. To learn more about the country of Nepal, go to our country report.
Pray for Pastor Dhurba's complete healing from both the physical and emotional wounds, asking God to continue providing great comfort through His Word and the encouragement of fellow believers. Remember others in Nepal who are courageously ministering in the name of Christ to those needing spiritual and humanitarian help. May the perpetrators responsible for this attack be held accountable, so they will be convicted of their wrongdoing -- in hopes of them coming to repentance and faith in God through the testimony of faithful Christians.
BURKINA FASO: Multiple Attacks Against Christians Sources: CBC, Christianity Today, World Watch Monitor
On April 28th, a church in Sirgadji was attacked by armed assailants who pulled six Christians, including a pastor, behind the building and then shot them. (For more information about this situation, see our previous report.) Since then, the violence has continued, with at least two more deadly attacks taking place during church gatherings.
On May 12th, gunmen stormed a church in Dablo. Surrounding the congregants, the perpetrators shot and killed six of those who had attempted to flee, including a church leader, before torching the building and looting nearby stores. The next day, unidentified assailants stopped a religious procession in the town of Singa. The armed men allowed children to leave before killing four adults.
Attacks in this land-locked nation come at a time when the country's leaders, along with those of surrounding nations, struggle with increasing violence from Islamic militant groups, including the Fulani herdsmen who have been responsible for much of the recently reported violence in nearby Nigeria.
Please prayerfully uphold the grieving families, friends, and fellow congregants of those killed during these recent attacks. Pray that the country's governmental leaders will be successful in curbing the violence so that believers in Christ can freely worship without any further risk of opposition or life-threatening danger.