Updates on the persecuted Church – 19 April 2023

19 April 2023

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More than 40 Christians killed in Kaduna State, Nigeria, bringing the total killed in Nigeria’s Middle Belt to at least 133 since the beginning of March; Pakistan church attacked; Libyan Christian convert from Islam arrested for apostasy; Blockade of Christian-majority Nagorno-Karabakh continues; African Church leaders call for prayer for Sudan

Suspected Islamists set fire to homes in Zangon Kataf, Kaduna State, Nigeria, during an attack in which 33 Christians were killed. At least 133 Christians have been killed in Nigeria’s Middle Belt since the beginning of March  

  • At least 133 believers have been killed since the beginning of March as anti-Christian violence rages across Nigeria’s Middle Belt. Women and children were among 33 people killed in a recent night time attack on the Christian community of Sankwap Runji in the Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State, Nigeria, on 15 April. Many of the victims were asleep and died when the attackers set fire to more than 40 homes. A mass burial was conducted the following day by a senior church leader. Pray for all who mourn and ask that they be assured that their loved ones have received the Crown of Life. Ask that the men of violence will have a life-changing encounter with the Prince of Peace.
  • Also in Zangon-Kataf LGA, nine residents of two villages in Atyap Chiefdom were killed by suspected Fulani extremists in attacks on the evening of 12 April. One man was killed in Ruji, and eight others died in Takjei. Three people were treated in hospital for injuries sustained in the attack on Atakjeh. Around 84% of the Atyap people are Christians. Ask that the Lord will comfort the bereaved, heal the wounded in the Atyap community, and that this atrocity will cause the authorities to respond in a swift and co-ordinated manner to prevent such attacks.
  • Police have increased security around a church in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad following a mob attack on Sunday 16 April. The church in Khokhar town was pelted with bricks and shots were fired, leaving bullet marks on the church walls, when around 40 men stormed the building during the evening service. Some 60 Christian families live in the district. Four of the attackers have since been arrested. Pray that security measures will prove effective in protecting Christians. Ask that worship meetings will not be interrupted further and that God’s perfect love in His people will eliminate fear.
  • A Libyan Christian convert from Islam was arrested on the grounds of apostasy on 13 April, a charge that can result in the death penalty. The arrested Christian, a 22-year-old woman, had released a short video explaining her conversion at the age of 15. In a separate incident, two teachers, both US citizens, were arrested in the Libyan capital of Tripoli on suspicion of proselytising Muslims. Both were deported to Tunisia. In September 2022 another Christian convert was sentenced to death for apostasy from Islam. As far as is known he remains on death row. Pray for both converts facing death for apostasy, and any others in Libya not known to us, asking that the Lord will strengthen them and that they will be freed.
  • A blockade of Christian-majority Nagorno-Karabakh – an Armenian enclave within Muslim-majority Azerbaijan – has entered its fifth month, with human rights experts warning that the situation is becoming a humanitarian disaster. The Lachin Corridor, the only land route linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia itself, has been blockaded since 12 December. Pray that God will bring an end to the blockade and the consequent shortages of food, medicine and other vital supplies. Give thanks that Barnabas continues to fund vital supplies of food for the Christians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Church leaders in Africa have called for prayer as violence continues for a fifth day in Sudan. At least 30 people have been killed since 6pm local time on 18 April, the time a ceasefire was supposed to come into effect. At least 175 civilians have been killed since fighting broke out on 15 April between the Sudanese army and paramilitary forces who are attempting a coup. “We pray for peace to be restored in Sudan, for the safety and protection of all its citizens, and for the conflicting parties to pursue peaceful solutions to the ongoing crisis,” read a statement from Association of Evangelicals in Africa. “We also pray for comfort and healing for those who have lost loved ones and for the injured to receive the medical care they need.” Christians are a small and vulnerable minority in Sudan (estimated at 3% of the population), and have suffered persecution for several decades. Join with our brothers and sisters in praying for peace and healing.

Related Countries

Armenia, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan