Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
African Islamist groups link up, intensi...

Email:

African Islamist groups link up, intensifying threat to Christians

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

African Islamist groups link up, intensifying threat to Christians

Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Somalia, Mali, Kenya, Libya, Middle East and North Africa

Three of Africa’s most violent Islamist groups, which have perpetrated deadly attacks on Christians and other targets, are linking up, signalling a mounting security threat on the continent. 

Boko_Haram_militants_4X3.jpg
Boko Haram militants are waging war against Christians in Nigeria

This was the assessment of General Carter F. Ham, commander of the US military’s Africa Command, speaking at an African Center for Strategic Studies seminar on 25 June.

He said that there are indications that Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are pooling money and explosives and training fighters together.

General Ham said:

Each of those three organizations is by itself a dangerous and worrisome threat. What really concerns me is the indications that the three organisations are seeking to coordinate and synchronize their efforts.

Boko Haram has been fighting to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria since 2009, killing over 1,000 people in attacks that have specifically targeted the security forces and Christians. The group has stepped up its campaign against Christians in particular this year, issuing increasingly sinister threats and bombing churches on an almost weekly basis.

Following systematic suicide bombings at three churches in Kaduna state on 17 June, Boko Haram released a statement that said:

From now on, they [Christians] either follow the right religion or there will be no peace for them.

The US State Department last month designated as terrorists three senior Boko Haram figures, drawing criticism for failing to designate the whole group as a terrorist entity.

Al-Shabaab controls most of southern Somalia, where they impose an extremely strict version of sharia. Their ultimate goal is to turn the entire country into an Islamic state. Al-Shabaab militants have killed numerous converts from Islam to Christianity in Somalia, vowing a few years ago that they would kill all Christians in the capital, Mogadishu.

The group is also suspected of being behind a number of recent attacks on churches and Christian gatherings in neighbouring Kenya.

AQIM is an al-Qaeda affiliated criminal outfit based in North Africa. It has been behind numerous bomb attacks on official buildings in Algeria, kidnaps westerners for ransom and aids the African drugs trade.

The position of Islamists in the region has been strengthened not only by the growing cooperation between the groups, but also by a rebel takeover in northern Mali and a breakdown of security in Libya.   

Al-Qaeda linked Islamist groups, including Ansar Dine, seized control of northern Mali along with separatist rebels in April, driving Christians out. The Islamists and separatists clashed over the imposition of sharia, the latter wanting a secular regime. On 28 June, the Islamists declared that they had secured full control of the territory from the separatists. They are enforcing a very harsh version of sharia and have drawn international condemnation for destroying historical mausoleums in Timbuktu that they regard as idolatrous. 

General Ham said that AQIM is now operating “essentially unconstrained” throughout large parts of northern Mali following the rebel takeover.

The breakdown of security in Libya as a result of the Arab Spring has increased the availability and movement of militants and weapons in the region; Colonel Gaddafi had kept extremists on a tight leash. 

This all bodes extremely ill for the region’s long-suffering Christians, whose presence Islamist militants want to eradicate by any means necessary.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

African Islamist groups link up, intensifying threat to Christians

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Please pray for Christians in northern Cameroon, where Boko Haram is terrorising people, especially Christians and security forces, just as in neighbouring Nigeria. The Islamist militants openly declare themselves to be Boko Haram, and issue threats by letter, including to pastors telling them they must leave. Two pastors were killed in the village of Assigashia on the night of 25-26 August, hich has caused great distress and consternation. The Cameroonian Christians ask for prayer that God will bring peace and security, that the kidnapped will be released, that believers will stand firm despite being targeted, that God will comfort the traumatised, and that church leaders will know how to prepare their people for persecution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 3 hours ago

    • “The cathedral in Damaturu now has only about 40 members instead of 450 members. The church in Potiskum now has only about 15 members instead of 500 members… the southern part of [Yobe state] is still very dangerous and most of the churches here have closed down.” A senior church leader in Nigeria wrote to Barnabas Fund in August about the impact on the Church of Boko Haram’s violence. Nevertheless Christians were still holding worship services every Sunday, discipling the young people and even commissioning pastors. Praise God for such perseverance, and pray that a Christian presence and witness may remain in north-east Nigeria. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Heavenly Father, we pray to You for our Christian brothers and sisters in north-eastern Nigeria, who are so vulnerable in the face of attacks by Boko Haram militants. We remember especially those who used to live in Madagali, in Adamawa state, until their town was seized by Boko Haram two months ago. We think of those who were betrayed into the hands of Boko Haram by their neighbours pointing out Christian homes or places where Christians had hidden. We bring before You those who saw their menfolk beheaded, and women forcibly converted to Islam. We cry out to You to intervene and bring an end to the murderous attacks by Boko Haram. We pray for all the thousands of Nigerian Christians who have suffered in similar attacks that they will not lose hope or faith in You, but will know Your peace which passes understanding. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Pray for a pastor in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania whose home was attacked on 17 May; two of his children were injured. When he went to report the incident to the police, he was falsely accused of raping a young woman who had left Islam to follow Christ. The pastor had taken her into his home, along with four other converts, after she was thrown out by her family; it was they who made the accusation against him. He has faced much opposition because of his fruitful outreach to Muslims, and several failed attempts have been made to frame him with false accusations. Pray that the sovereign Lord will help him and that he will not be disgraced (Isaiah 50:7-9). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Oct 2014 00:00

    • A church on Mafia Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago, was attacked on 9 May by around 80 young Muslim men armed with arrows and knives. The church members, who are mainly converts from Islam, had gathered for their weekly overnight prayer session when the attackers appeared, shouting “death to ritad’i” (those who leave Islam). They set fi re to the church, leaving the interior in ruins, and then went in search of the pastor, but he was not at home. The incident followed a bomb blast at another church in Mwanza in mainland Tanzania on 5 May, in which a worker at the church rest house was critically injured. Pray that the authorities will effectively address the increasing incidence of attacks against churches. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Oct 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks