NIGERIA: Suspected Boko Haram Gunmen Kill Christian Leader
Gunmen believed to be members of the deadly Islamic extremist Boko Haram group killed Rev Faye Pama Musa, secretary of the Borno state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The gunmen reportedly followed the long-time Christian leader from his church building, where he was holding an evening Bible study, to his house in the Government Reservation Area in Maiduguri.
The assailants reportedly dragged the pastor from his home and shot him outside, in front of his daughter, who had followed them out pleading for his life. Pama was the father of three children.
Senior pastor of a Pentecostal church, Rhema Assembly, Pama often spoke out against persecution of Christians in Borno state, epicentre of Boko Haram attacks in north-eastern Nigeria. He had been involved in ministry leadership for more than 26 years.
The shooting happened within an hour of President Goodluck Jonathan declaring a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, allowing the government to send more troops and take other special measures to try curbing violence by Boko Haram.
The group has reportedly killed more than 4,000 people since 2009, and the state of emergency comes after a gun battle between the military and Boko Haram in Baga, Borno state last month that some say took more than 100 civilian lives.
In a 2007 interview, Pama had said that he would not leave Borno state in spite of the danger to his ministry and life from Islamic extremists. Pama believed that only by showing love to Muslims could they be won to Christ, “and not through fighting.”
Sources: Assist News Service, Morning Star News
Uplift this family and community to the Lord during their time of shock and grief; pray He will bear their sorrows and bring them comfort, protection and provision.
Thank the Lord for the faithful witness of Rev Faye Pama Musa, pray his death will not be in vain but even now will be used by the Lord to enlarge His kingdom.
Pray for the safety of the military and police who are attempting to curb the efforts of Boko Haram.
Pray for all members of Boko Haram, may the Lord deliver them from this bondage of hatred and violence and bring many to repentance.
UZBEKISTAN: Criminal Conviction and Fines
Sharofat Allamova, a Protestant from Urgench in north-western Uzbekistan, has been given one and a half years of corrective labour, after being convicted under criminal charges brought for the "illegal production, storage, import or distribution of religious literature".
Allamova will be placed in a low-paid state job, her salary being further reduced by having to pay 20 per cent of it to the state during her sentence. She will only be permitted to travel within Uzbekistan with written state permission and is banned from leaving the country. It has been stated that the NSS secret police compelled witnesses to make false statements against Allamova.
Separately, fines have been imposed on people in the capital Tashkent for meeting in a private home and having Christian literature, and for carrying a personal Bible and New Testament.
Source: Forum 18 News Service
Pray Allamova will continue steadfastly in her faith and even be content as she undertakes corrective labour (Philippians 4: 12-13).
Pray the Lord will bring genuine religious freedom to Uzbekistan.
Pray the church will continue to meet to spur one another on, to worship the Lord and learn from His word.
SRI LANKA: Christians Under Attack
In recent months, Christian persecution in Sri Lanka has intensified owing to the rise in Buddhist nationalism in the country.
Extremist Buddhist groups such as the Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Strong Army) and the Sinhala Rawaya (Sinhala Echo) have incited religious disharmony and carried out attacks, targeting both Christian and Muslim minorities in the country.
In a wave of violence, around 30 churches have come under attack this year alone. In 2012 there were 52 reported incidents of persecution. Quite alarmingly, these attacks have occurred with impunity, with little or no state action to prosecute those responsible.
In addition to the violence, local governments and police have ordered many churches to close down, claiming that they are not authorised by the state.
In a recent incident in the Hambantota district, authorities called on certain evangelical churches to confirm their legality, warning church leaders that failure to do so would result in the closure of the churches.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission
Pray that Christians in Sri Lanka would place their trust in the Lord in this time of trouble.
Pray that the Lord would protect Christian leaders in the country who are at risk of violence.
Pray that those inciting religious tensions and persecuting Christians would experience a change in heart, repent, and come to know the saving grace of God.
Pray that church leaders would depend on the Holy Spirit to discern the appropriate response to the situation.