Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Nigerian church leaders and their families targeted by kidnappers
A wave of recent kidnappings across Nigeria appears now to be targeting church leaders and their families. Several abductions in Kaduna state this month suggest that militants have launched a devastating new campaign against church leadership. Release partner Stefanos Foundation reports that kidnappers have struck three times in a fortnight in Kaduna, kidnapping a pastor, a pastor’s wife and three children – and demanding huge ransoms.
Please pray for the swift release of all those who have been kidnapped.
On August 4, gunmen shot and killed a pastor with Living Faith Church in Romi New Extension, and kidnapped his wife; she was freed after a ransom was paid. Ten days later, Pastor Elisha Numan and his son, from Nagarta Baptist Church in Unguwan Makere, were kidnapped. And on August 17, the children, aged nine and 19, of a bishop were abducted; no further details have been released. Kidnappings targeting Christians have been going on for some time, according Rev Joseph Hayab, chairman of the Kaduna state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). He says that more than 500 Christians have been abducted in the past two years and CAN has paid out more than 300 million Naira (almost £700,000) in ransoms.
Please pray that God will strengthen, protect and comfort those who have been abducted and their families.Pray that He will make a way for families to be reunited, without the need for ransoms to be paid. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will respond to calls for greater protection for Christian communities and church leaders’ families, in Kaduna and across Nigeria.
(Source: Stefanos Foundation)
Please pray for Pastor Wang Yi(also known as Wang Li) and four other leaders of Early Rain Covenant Church detained in Chengdu, China. Officials have recently brought additional charges relating to ‘illegal business operations’ against Pastor Wang and Deacon Tan Defu. Lawyers hired by Tan Defu’s family have been replaced by lawyers assigned by officials – sparking fears that the deacon has been illtreated. (Source: China Aid)
Please hold in your prayers our six brothers and sisters in Iran whose appeal hearing will be held next Tuesday. Pastor Victor bet Tamraz, his wife Shamiram Issavi Khabizeh, their son Ramiel bet Tamraz, and three others Christians – Amin Nader Afshari, Hadi Asgari and Kavian Fallah Mohammadi – are appealing against prison sentences ranging from four months to 15 years. Sentences handed down to Pastor Victor, Amin, Hadi and Kavian were issued by a judge who has since been suspended amid allegations of corruption. (Source: Middle East Concern)
Continue to pray for our family in Algeria where yet more churches are under threat of closure. On August 18, police told congregations in Akbou and Ighzer Amokrane that their buildings would be sealed in ten days’ time. Six other churches have already been sealed and at least three more have been ordered to cease all activities. On Monday the gendarmerie unsuccessfully attempted to close the Church of the Prince of Peace in Ighzer Amokrane. Since November 2017 the authorities have been engaging in a systematic campaign to close Christian places of worship and other institutions. (Source: Middle East Concern)
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