Desperate Christians, including 433 children, facing attacks or fleeing from rampaging Islamist extremists in Mali, have been sent urgent aid by Barnabas Fund.
The jihadists slaughtered more than 100 Christians in just one attack on Sobame Da.
Hundreds of Christians have fled their villages in the central Mopti district, escaping with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, and abandoning livestock, food stores and all their possessions.
Barnabas Fund is helping a total of 785 people, some displaced and some remaining in villages, including 433 children and 20 widows. It has set up an appeal with the aim of raising £43,995 to cover the costs of emergency aid essentials including rice, mattresses, buckets, mosquito nets and hygiene kits.
The single worst incident so far was the horror inflicted on the mainly-Christian village of Sobame Da by the Islamist extremists who attacked it on 10 June. They slaughtered everyone they could find, including women, children and elderly. The victims were shot or burned alive in their own homes.
Perhaps as many as 135 people were killed but the exact death toll is hard to establish because of the extreme charring of some of the bodies.
Those fleeing are heading for safer areas, but these places have insufficient food, shelter, drinking water and sanitary facilities to support them.
“People continue to move because where they were living they risked being killed by terrorists,” wrote a Christian leader in Mali to Barnabas Fund in July. Some villagers opted to stay in their homes, but they dare not go out to work their fields or graze their animals, for fear of being killed.
Since 2016 jihadists have been waging a war to occupy north and central Mali with the declared aim of establishing sharia (Islamic law) throughout the country.