News from the Frontlines

Thursday February 11, 2016

Imam Arrested in Killing of Christian Convert in Eastern Uganda

Mosque leader detained after issuing threat.By Our East Africa Correspondent
NAIROBI, Kenya, February 10, 2016(Morning Star News) – An imam who threatened a convert from Islam in eastern Uganda has been arrested in connection with the killing of the 28-year-old Christian, sources said.
Laurence Maiso’s body was found at his house, his head in a pool of blood, on Jan. 27 at around 5 p.m. in Numuseru village, Naboa Sub-County in Budaka District.

Four days earlier, Imam Kamulali Hussein had met him and his wife on a local road. According to Maiso’s wife, the imam told him, “You have refused to join us. Do you know that Allah does not want us to have a kafir [infidel] neighbor? And you should know that Allah is about to send to you the Angel of Death in your house. Please prepare to meet him at any time.”
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News from the Frontlines

Thursday February 4, 2016

Humiliating Attack in India Tests Young Pastor's Faith

Hindu extremists accused of beating, shaving, parading him through streets.By Our India Correspondent
NEW DELHI, February 4, 2016 (Morning Star News) – A pastor in northern India who was beaten and paraded through streets with his head half-shaved as crowds called for him to be cut to pieces said he is thankful that he was counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ.
On Friday (Jan. 29) Hindu extremists posing as policemen picked up Avdhesh Savita, a 35-year-old father of four, from his home in Rendhar village in Uttar Pradesh state and took him to Orai, Jalaun District. They beat him, shaved half of his head, one eyebrow and one side of his moustache, and put him on a donkey as they led him in a procession through Orai.

They and others in the frenzied crowd mocked him, falsely accusing him of forcible conversion.

“The mob that was parading me was shouting, ‘Kill him, cut him in pieces,’ but I kept telling them that faith unites, it does not divide,” Savita told Morning Star News. “I told my tormentors that I believe in Christ out of my own freewill, and that I have never hurt anyone, but they just did not listen to me.”

The assailants were reportedly members of Yuvavahini (Youth Brigade), a Hindu nationalist group, and took him to the head office of the Hindu extremist Bajrang Dal in Orai, where others joined in the abuse.
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News from the Frontlines

Thursday February 4, 2016

Al Shabaab Kills Christians in Raid on Village in Coastal Kenya

At least four dead in latest Islamist extremist attack in the area. By Our East Africa Correspondent
NAIROBI, Kenya, February 2, 2016 (Morning Star News) – In a pre-dawn raid on a predominantly Christian area in coastal Kenya on Sunday (Jan. 31), Islamic extremist Al Shabaab rebels killed at least four Christians, beheading one of them, area sources said.
In the Kaisari area of Maporomoko village, near Pandanguo about 25 miles inland from the Indian Ocean town of Lamu, Al Shabaab rebels attacked from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., a wounded survivor at Mpeketoni Sub-County Hospital told Morning Star News.

The victim, a Christian from the Maporomoko-Bondeni area who was shot in his right hand, said there were five or six heavily-armed assailants who spoke Somali and were dressed in military uniform. They shot two Christians to death, hacked and beheaded another and killed at least one other by setting his house on fire, he said.
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News from the Frontlines

Thursday February 4, 2016

Sudan Releases One of Two Pastors Detained in December

Other Sudanese Church of Christ leader remains in detention without charges.By Our Sudan Correspondent
JUBA, South Sudan, January 31, 2016 (Morning Star News) – Sudanese authorities have released one of two pastors detained in December, sources said.
The Rev. Kwa Shamaal, head of missions for the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC), was arrested on Dec. 18and released on Dec. 21 but had been required to report daily to the office of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), where he was held from 8 a.m. until midnight, sources said. That requirement was removed on Jan. 16.

His colleague, the Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor, SCOC vice-moderator, remains in detention without charges.

NISS officials were said to have been upset with the pastors for telling others that Christians faced persecution in Sudan. Authorities had arrested the two pastors from their respective homes at the same hour. No charges have been brought against them, although NISS officials were said to have objected to their their Christian activities.
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Nigeria

Saturday January 30, 2016

Suicide Bombings in Two Towns in Nigeria Leave 26 Dead, Dozens Injured

Attacks hit Christian communities of Chibok, Borno state, and Gombi, Adamawa.By Our Nigeria Correspondent
JOS, Nigeria, January 29, 2016 (Morning Star News) – Suicide attacks on two predominantly Christian communities in northeast Nigeria today and on Wednesday (Jan. 27) left at least 26 persons dead and dozens of others injured, sources said.
At noon today a suicide bomber suspected to have been sent by the Islamic extremist Boko Haram group detonated explosives in a crowded market in Gombi, Adamawa state, killing at least eight people, sources said. Boko Haram, which seeks to imposesharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, has continued to carry out terrorist attacks since losing territory to the Nigerian military last year.

“Some members of our church who escaped the attack in the market said they saw eight dead bodies, while about 28 others were injured,” the Rev. Bitrus Njidda, pastor of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) in the town, told Morning Star News.
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Nigeria

Wednesday January 27, 2016

Pastors in Nigeria Fall Prey to Kidnappers

Two kidnapped, another wounded amid abduction of parishioner.By Our Nigeria Correspondent
JOS, Nigeria, January 27, 2016 (Morning Star News) – Two Nigerian pastors have been abducted this month in Kogi state, as kidnapping cartels that have plagued the central state the past three years directed their aim at Christian leaders.
In a departure from numerous kidnappings of high-profile business and government leaders in Kogi state since 2013, gunmen abducted pastor David Onubedo of Deeper Life Bible Church on Monday night (Jan. 25) in Okene after a Bible study, according to local reports. In the same state in Emi-Oworo village, U.S. missionary Phyllis Sortor was kidnapped on Feb. 23, 2015, and not released untilMarch 6.

Onubedo’s captors are reported to have contacted his wife and the leadership of the church to demand 50 million naira (US$249,000) for his release.

“Pastor David Onubedo is a serving minister at a parish of the church in the city of Kebbi, northwest Nigeria, and was only visiting his hometown of Okene when he was kidnapped yesterday as he was returning to his home after attending evening Bible studies in the church here in Okene at about 9 p.m.,” a church member who requested anonymity told Morning Star News.

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News from the Frontlines

Wednesday January 27, 2016

Muslim Extremists from Sudan Suspected of Burning Church Building in South Sudan

Suspect tells police they were 'sent' from Sudan, source says.By Our Sudan Correspondent
JUBA, South Sudan, January 26, 2015 (Morning Star News) – Muslim extremists from Sudan have been arrested in connection with the burning of a church building in South Sudan, sources said.
Members of the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) in the refugee settlement of Yida awoke the morning of Jan. 16 to find their worship building in flames, area Christian leaders said. Tens of thousands of refugees from Sudan’s South Kordofan state have set up homes in Yida, about seven miles from the Sudanese border.

“I learned that those who set our church on fire were sent from Sudan purposely,” said a church leader who wished to remain unnamed.

The following week his congregation of nearly 200 people held their worship service in the open air in the remains of the charred church building, a structure of unbaked bricks. Most church members are ethnic Nuba who have fled bombing of civilians in South Kordofan in Sudan’s fight with rebels.
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News from the Frontlines

Friday January 22, 2016

Police in Pakistan Torture Christian to Death, Family Says

Muslim employers order mistreatment after filing false theft charge, they say.By Our Pakistan Correspondent
LAHORE, Pakistan, January 18, 2015 (Morning Star News) – Pakistani police last week tortured a devout Catholic to death in Punjab Province after the victim’s employer singled him out for a theft charge because of his faith, family members said.
Riasat Masih of Kalaskey village, Purana Kot in Gujranwala District, told Morning Star News that police killed his brother, 47-year-old Liaqat Masih, on Wednesday (Jan. 13) during interrogation in which he was hung upside down and beaten.

For more than a year Liaqat Masih had been employed as a driver for Raza Hameed, and several years previously for Hameed’s father, influential Gujranwala politician S.A. Hameed. Both Raza Hameed and S.A. Hameed were present at the police jail during the torture of Liaqat Masih, his brother said, adding that none of the employer’s Muslim employees were questioned about the theft last year of millions of rupees in cash and gold jewelry.
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News from the Frontlines

Sunday January 17, 2016

Iran Releases U.S.-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini in Prisoner Swap

Wife, children excited to see him after more than three years of imprisonment. By Our Middle East Correspondent
ISTANBUL, Turkey, January 16, 2016(Morning Star News) – Iran released U.S.-Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini today, more than three years after authorities arrested him on charges of “threatening national security” by planting churches, according to several sources.
Abedini was released along with three other dual-citizens, including Washington Postjournalist Jason Rezaian, in a prisoner swap, Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported this morning. U.S. officials reportedly confirmed that the release was part of a prisoner swap involving seven Iranians held on charges of violating sanctions and came after more than a year of closely guarded talks.

The pastor’s wife, Naghmeh Abedini, told Morning Star News that she heard about the release from friends in Iran who saw reports about it on state TV. U.S. officials confirmed the release to her this morning. Her two children have been jumping up and down with excitement since then, she said by phone from her home in Boise, Idaho, where she said the atmosphere was joyfully chaotic.

“Over the past three years I have felt a huge weight, not only as a wife, but as a mom, seeing my kids in so much pain,” she said. “Birthdays, Christmases – we just passed another Christmas, so I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.”
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News from the Frontlines

Saturday January 16, 2016

Special News: Saeed Abedini freed and safe in Swiss Embassy, on the way out of Iran

On The Release of Saeed Abedini

By ICRUSA, K.A. Ellis

Today is a good day. Five prisoners have been released by the Iranian government, and among them is Saeed Abedini. An Iranian native and convert to Christianity, Abedini was arrested in 2012 by the Iranian government during a trip to help build a state-run secular orphanage. How is such a deal successfully brokered? The Director of International Christian Response, a Swiss organization that advocates for the persecuted church and religious freedom, He points out that “Success in such endeavors is the result of many people and agencies operating tirelessly behind the scenes, often for years at a time.”

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