Merry Christmas to our Orthodox friends and family and happy new year from all of us at CSW! Thank you so much for journeying with us in 2015. It was so great to keep you updated, and to pray and campaign with you last year, especially during the Christmas season, as this can be a difficult time of year for many Christians. Here’s an update on what happened in some of the countries we asked you to pray for over Christmas:
The Iranian human rights HRNA received reports that at least ten Christians were arrested in Shiraz during a ceremony to celebrate Christmas Day. The ceremony took place at a house church, which was raided by police who transferred the group to an unknown location. Please pray for their safety and swift release.
Suicide bombers exploded three devices in the Syrian city of Kamishli/Qamişlo on New Years’ Eve, targeting restaurants in a mainly Assyrian Christian residential area. The casualties are reported to be 17 dead, 31 wounded. Pray for the protection for this and other indigenous communities from extremist violence, and for God’s presence to be with the families of the victims as well as those wounded.
At least 14 people were killed and several others injured in an attack on Kimba village in Borno State by Boko Haram gunmen on Christmas Day. They opened fire on villagers and torched their homes. In the days that followed the violence continued to escalate. On 27 and 28 December more than 90 people were killed and 80 injured in multiple Boko Haram attacks around the Borno State capital Maiduguri and in Madagali in Adamawa State, and a suicide and gun attack on a Borno village on 6 January claimed 14 lives. Please pray for the defeat of Boko Haram and for peace to return to north east Nigeria.
While there has been no news on Vietnamese Christian lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, who was assaulted when leaving a human rights conference and later detained, several governments have released statements expressing their concern. Please give thanks for this international action, and pray that this would cause the Vietnamese government to stop targeting human rights defenders.
During December, National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents arrested a Christian activist and two religious leaders. Talahon Nigosi Kassa Ratta, an activist and member of the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church (SEPC), was arrested on 14 December 2015 in Khartoum and Reverends Kwa Shamal and Hassan Abduraheem of the Sudan Church of Christ were arrested on 19 December 2015 at their homes in Khartoum North and Omdurman respectively. All three are being held in unknown locations without charge.
Keep up-to-date in 2016
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