Four deaths after terror attacks on churches in Cameroon

“Boko Haram reportedly mounted a total of 150 attacks in 2017, an increase on the 127 attacks it is said to have mounted the previous year.”


Two churches and four people have been killed in a terror attack by Islamist terrorists, Boko Haram on Monday 15 January.

Cameroon map

The attacks on two churches, the Union des Eglise Evangelique (UEEC) and a Catholic Church took place in a village in the far north region of Cameroon bordering north east Nigeria. A health centre, established by UEEC to care for the community, was also destroyed.

Security sources have also confirmed that the jihadists burnt down over 93 houses, 20 food storehouses, and 11 motorbikes.

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Northern Cameroon has suffered from incessant attacks by the Islamic terror group trying to establish an Islamic caliphate from north eastern Nigeria all the way to northern Cameroon, a region of predominantly Christian communities. Villages like Mozogo and Moskota have been attacked a number of times.

A church leader in Moskota, weary of the persistent attacks and expressing the frustration of the community, said people in the region are wary of the attacks.

He said: “It almost means nothing again to us because they come in and loot and make away with our property. During one of such attacks, they made away with several cows belonging to the population. We tried to run away also when they came, and sometimes we just grow weary of running when they attack, but we can’t help it.”

A UNHCR report said Boko Haram insurgency has forced over 170, 000 Cameroonians to flee further north to the Nigerian border while over 73,000 Nigerian refugees fleeing Boko Haram attacks in north eastern Nigeria were fleeing into the same region. A large number of displaced people are Christians.

attacks in Cameroon

Despite Nigeria’s Government’s claim of the defeat of the terrorist group, a BBC research says “Boko Haram reportedly mounted a total of 150 attacks in 2017, an increase on the 127 attacks it is said to have mounted the previous year.”

The attacks have mostly been in Nigeria, but also in Cameroon, Niger and Chad, 23 more attacks than in 2016, the report says.

Written by – Hassan John 

Somalia Suffers Worst Terrorist Attack in its History

Heartbreaking stories have been emerging from Somalia in the wake of the bombing…

At least 276 people have died in a deadly bomb attack on Saturday in what is being called Somalia’s worst terrorist attack in the country’s history.

BBC News reports that the massive bombing occurred in a busy part of Mogadishu, the country’s capital. No group has yet taken responsibility for the attack, although the al-Shabaab terrorist group is known for targeting the region.  

“The family is so shocked, especially our father who travelled all the way from London to attend her graduation, but instead he attended her burial,” said Maryam’s sister, Anfa’a.

Witnesses and survivors of the attack say it was unlike anything they’ve ever seen. Local resident Muhidin Ali said it was “the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area.”

“What happened yesterday was incredible, I have never seen such a thing before, and countless people lost their lives. Corpses were burned beyond recognition,” added Mohamed Yusuf Hassan, the director of the Madina Hospital in Mogadishu.

Only 111 of the dead have been identified by family members. One hundred sixty-five others will be given a national mass funeral and buried by the government.

Heartbreaking stories have been emerging from Somalia in the wake of the bombing. One victim, Maryam Abdullahi, had been in medical school and was due to graduate the day after the bombing took place.

Maryam’s father had flown to Mogadishu to celebrate her graduation, but instead ended up mourning her death.

written by Veronica Neffinger

Bodies of 21 Christians Found Beheaded by ISIS in Mass Grave in Libya

In February 2015, ISIS had posted a video online of the beheadings, which sparked air strikes from Egypt against ISIS units in Libya.  

The bodies of 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded by ISIS have been found in a mass grave in Libya, according to Libya’s interior ministry.

The men had been killed more than two years ago on a beach near Tripoli, the Agence French Presse reported. In February 2015, ISIS had posted a video online of the beheadings, which sparked air strikes from Egypt against ISIS units in Libya.  

ISIS fighters had kidnapped the Christians in separate incidents in Libya from December 2014 to January 2015, The Christian Post reported.

“The heads are separated from the bodies clad in orange jumpsuits, hands bound behind the back with plastic wire,” said the Libya’s interior ministry unit for fighting organized crime in the city of Misurata.

Authorities found out about the mass grave after ISIS prisoners confessed to the killings.

Twenty of the bodies were determined to be of Egyptian descent, while one body was found to be of an unknown African nationality. The remains have been transferred to Misurata for forensic examination.

Egyptian officials have been notified of the finding of the remains, which will be returned to Egypt.

Last month, an Egyptian court sentenced seven people to death over links to ISIS units in northwest Egypt and the killings.

Earlier this year, International Christian Concern reported that the relatives of those who were killed were proud that their family members stood up to ISIS in the name of Christ.

One wife said her husband “kept the faith, and was martyred for Christ.”

“His faith was very strong,” she said. “I’m proud of him. He has lifted our heads up and honored us and all the Christians.”

WHERE WAS GOD IN THE LAS VEGAS SHOOTING? ‘HEAVEN IS FOR REAL’ AUTHOR TODD BURPO RESPONDS (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)

“We don’t let teachers pray anymore, we’ve stopped going to church and praying with our families at home. But what we do have is video games that promote violence that have replaced Bible time. Instead of listening to sermons, people turn on the news, where we see violence and terrorism. Gradually, then, our whole society has adjusted to this darkness…” -Todd Burpo

 In an exclusive interview with The Gospel Herald, “Heaven is for Real” author Todd Burpo answers some serious questions about God’s presence amid tragedy. (Photo: Reuters/via Gospel Herald)

From Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to the devastating Las Vegas massacre, it seems like no more than a week goes by before some kind of tragedy rocks the United States.

For many of us who follow Christ, these tumultuous times raise serious questions: “Why does God allow tragedy?” and “Is God trying to tell us something?”

Rev. Todd Burpo, author of the New York Times bestseller “Heaven is for Real,” addresses such questions in his latest book, “God is for Real: And He Longs to Answer Your Most Difficult Questions.”

“With the shooting that happened in Vegas, the world is stunned by it, they’re fixated on it,” he told The Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview. “One of the things that we can’t deny is that there’s evil in this world. Some people’s hearts are just full of evil, and can we do something about that? We, as a country, need to be honest about our adjustment to darkness and how we need the light of Jesus Christ.”

Burpo explained that in this country, prayer has all but been eliminated—both publicly and privately.

“We don’t let teachers pray anymore, we’ve stopped going to church and praying with our families at home,” he said. “But what we do have is video games that promote violence that have replaced Bible time. Instead of listening to sermons, people turn on the news, where we see violence and terrorism. Gradually, then, our whole society has adjusted to this darkness.”

Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter who killed 59 and injured hundreds at the Route 91 Festival, succumbed to this darkness, Burpo said.  

“People are trying to figure out what went on in his mind, but I would say that something terrible in his life happened where he blamed God for it,” the pastor said. “That might have been a tipping point for him, but gradually, God didn’t matter to him anymore. When you take light [out] of your life and all you have is darkness left, people [become] capable of committing these atrocities.” 

It’s important to remember that God is present in even the most devastating of tragedies, Burpo said.

“What I’ve found in those hard places, in those hard times, is that people want to pray,” he said. “I think in church, as pastor, we have neat and tidy services, and you ask people to pray, and people say they don’t feel comfortable. But when you’re out there next to the scene of an accident, everyone’s ready to pray. God is present to help in those times and in those places.”

Burpo pointed to Mark 4:35-41, where Jesus calms the storm.

“The disciples—these seasoned fisherman—are in the boat with Jesus during this terrible storm, and He’s sleeping,” he recounted. “The disciples, who are terrified of drowning, ask, ‘Why are you resting? Don’t you care?’ I think we’ve all asked these questions in scary times.”

In response, Jesus asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?”

[written byLeah Marieann Klett ]

 

Indian government tells Supreme Court Rohingya pose ‘serious threat’

The government also said there was a “serious possibility of eruption of violence against Buddhists in India by radicalized Rohingya.”

After an appeal from two Rohingya, India’s top court is considering PM Narendra Modi’s plan to deport some 40,000 Rohingya in India. The government said intelligence data showed links between some Rohingya and terrorism.

Rohingya-Konflikt in Myanmar - Proteste in Neu-Delhi (picture alliance/dpa/M. Swarup)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government told the Supreme Court of India on Monday that the Rohingya were “illegal” immigrants.

The hearing is taking place as Rohingya face severe violence in their native Myanmar. More than 400,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in the past few weeks to escape military and civilian reprisals that the United Nations has described as “ethnic cleansing.” Later on Monday, Myanmar’s national security advisor said that his government was willing to welcome the refugees who had fled to Bangladesh back to their native Rakhine state, but that the details of the process still had to be worked out.

“We will make sure that everybody who left their home can return to their home but this is a process we have to discuss,” Thaung Tun told Reuters news agency after a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

It was unclear how this would affect the estimated 40,000 Rohingya believed to have settled in India, including 16,000 of whom are registered with the UN’s refugee agency.

Infografik Rohingya Bevölkerung ENG

Read more: Myanmar’s Rohingya – A history of forced exoduses

The Indian government told the court that it had intelligence data that showed links between some Rohingya Muslims and Pakistan-based terror groups and other international terror organizations. It argued that such links made them a “serious threat to national security.”

The government also said there was a “serious possibility of eruption of violence against Buddhists in India by radicalized Rohingya.”

Lawyer Colin Gonsalves, who in a separate case is representing about 7,000 Rohingya living in the northern Indian city of Jammu, countered the government’s assertions.

“We just want to know: 40,000 people have been here, many of them for the last five years. Have you [the government] filed a single charge sheet, is anyone being prosecuted in the criminal court for being a terrorist? The answer is: no,” he told DW.

The court has adjourned the hearing in the matter to October 3.

Lack of evidence

India says it is not bound by the UN convention on refugees as it is not a signatory to the accord, but human rights activists disagree.

“The principle of non return of a person to a place where he will be executed or tortured has become a principle of customary international law which India follows,” Gonsalves told DW. “And it has attained the status of ‘jus cogens,’ which is a principle of law that no country can say is not applicable to it, such as torture and genocide.”

In a communication sent to all states in August, the Home Ministry [interior ministry] said the illegal migrants were more susceptible to terrorist recruitment efforts.

But an investigation by Indian broadcaster NDTV found “little evidence of the government claim.” The investigation that was carried out at major Rohingya settlements in the country showed little involvement in criminal wrongdoing by the refugees.

Lack of any evidence to support the government claim has led to speculations that the Rohingya were being targeted for their religion by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist government.

Rohingya refugee in IndiaIndian government views Rohingya refugees as a national security threat

“It is really unfortunate that the government is going back on its commitment to refugees which it has reiterated several times in the past merely because these Rohingyas are Muslims,” said lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who filed the plea on behalf of two Rohingya men.

“I mean this is clearly a case of religious discrimination and an attempt to arouse a sort of feeling of… an anti-Muslim feeling or try and communalise the situation,” he told reporters outside the courthouse.

The UN’s human rights chief last week deplored Indian government’s move to deport Rohingya refugees.

“India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said.

The Rohingya are an Indo-Aryan people, the vast majority of whom are Muslims. They usually migrate to India through a rather porous border to escape persecution in their native Rakhine state in Myanmar, where they have been denied citizenship rights.

They are viewed by the local authorities as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Myanmar’s Buddhist majority is often accused of subjecting them to discrimination and violence.

The ongoing violence follows an insurgent attack on security forces on August 25 in Rakhine state that sparked off a brutal military counteroffensive.

Hundreds of people, the majority of them Rohingya, have been killed in the violence that has seen many homes destroyed and several villages burned down. Myanmar’s government maintains the crackdown is part of a counter-terrorism drive, while the UN’s al-Hussein has said that it “seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

[written by Ashutosh Pandey]