Updates on the persecuted Church – 16 May 2023

16 May 2023

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At least 17 killed by Islamists in southern Chad; Fourteen-year-old Christian girl held captive by Muslims in Kaduna State, Nigeria; Eleven worshippers abducted from church service in Kaduna released, 14 still held; Armenian Genocide recognised by Australian state of Tasmania 

  • At least 17 people have been killed in an Islamist attack in southern Chad. Fulani Muslim extremists launched an armed assault on Christian communities in Logone Oriental (Eastern) region on the morning of 8 May. Among the dead were a pastor, Doumro Tadingao Gaston, and 12 other worshippers who were attending a prayer meeting in the village of Don. Around 20 villages in the region have been burned down, with several thousand people displaced by the violence. This follows Islamist attacks on four other southern Chadian villages a month earlier, in which two pastors were killed and many other people injured. Pray that the Lord will comfort His mourning and traumatised people. Ask that He will restrain the hand of extremists and bring peace.
  • A 14-year-old Christian girl has been held by Muslims in Kaduna State, Nigeria, for over a month. Esther Duniya, who was staying with her aunt, was abducted on 5 April and taken to a nearby village where she was forcefully converted to Islam. Both the Muslim village head and district head have refused to return Esther to her family, instead threatening her aunt and her parents, while local police have refused to act. It is feared Esther will be forced to marry a Muslim man. Pray for God’s protection over Esther and her family at this time, asking that she will be released safe and unharmed.    
  • Eleven Christians who were among 40 abducted from a church service in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria, on Sunday 7 May have been released. Fifteen had already escaped from their captors in the immediate aftermath, leaving 14 who are still being held. The Islamist abductors “abandoned or freed those they found difficult to manage because of health problems, fatigue or their age”, said Pastor John Joseph Hayab, head of the Kaduna branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria. Among those abandoned were a woman and her baby who were left for dead by the Islamists, but who managed to reach their home village. Give thanks for those who are now free, and continue to pray for the 14 still in captivity.
  • Tasmania is the latest Australian state to recognise formally the Armenian, Assyrian, Syriac and Greek Genocide of 1893-1923. The killing of around 3.75 million Christians in the Ottoman Empire is also recognised as genocide by New South Wales and South Australia. At present Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh are suffering severe shortages of food and medical supplies owing to a blockade that has been in place for six months. Thank the Lord for continuing recognition of these anti-Christian atrocities, and pray that such recognition will avert further such crimes against humanity.

Barnabas Aid has transported 180 tonnes of food to the suffering Christians of Nagorno-Karabakh, but this urgent need continues. Please see our recent appeal for how you can pray and provide for our Armenian brothers and sisters.   

Related Countries

Armenia, Australia, Chad, Nigeria