Updates on the Persecuted Church – July 4, 2023

July 4, 2023

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Pastor killed in Ogun State, Nigeria, as seven abducted church members rescued; Christian girl in Punjab, Pakistan, forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim man; Nearly a quarter of a million global deaths from armed conflict in 2022, the highest this century

The church building in Ogun State, Nigeria, where a pastor was killed and seven worshippers abducted. The abducted Christians were rescued by security forces shortly afterwards [Image credit: Vanguard]

  • A pastor in Ogun State, Nigeria, was killed in an attack on a church service before sunrise on July 1. Pastor Kayode Oluwakemi, 56, died immediately after being shot in the chest. The attackers also abducted seven worshippers, but these were rescued shortly afterwards by security forces. Dr. Stephen Adeyemi, General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, called on the government “to look into this issue of insecurity.” Give thanks for the rescue of the seven Christians, and ask that the Lord will comfort those in mourning. Pray that the government will heed to words of Dr. Adeyemi.
  • The family of a 16-year-old Christian girl in Punjab, Pakistan, fear that she has been forced to marry a Muslim and convert to Islam. Muskan Bibi went missing in May 2023, and is now married to a Muslim man, Ahmad Ali, who has previously harassed Muskan and threatened to abduct her. The police did not act to protect Muskan or her family, even when Ali threatened Muskan’s mother with a knife. The family are now appealing to the government to intervene. Pray that the Lord will protect Muskan from harm, that she will be returned safely to her family, and that He will sustain her inner Christian faith despite what she has been outwardly forced to say or do.
  • Deaths from violent conflicts have reached their highest in almost two decades, rising to nearly a quarter of a million in 2022. According to a report from the Institute for Economics and Peace based in Sydney, Australia, there were 237,912 conflict-related deaths, the highest number since 1994, the year of the Rwandan Genocide. The war in Ukraine has contributed towards this figure, with conflict also worsening in Myanmar and Middle Belt Nigeria, areas of intense anti-Christian violence. War also contributes to food insecurity and poverty. Pray for all those affected by armed conflict, especially our brothers and sisters.      

Related Countries

Global, Nigeria, Pakistan