By Elizabeth Kendal
Christ has a Church (a people) in war-ravaged, famine-wracked Somalia. This Church consists almost entirely of Somali converts from Islam. Al-Shabaab -- the Islamic fundamentalist al-Qaeda affiliate that controls most of Somalia -- is committed to extinguishing this Church. At least 25 Somali Christians have been martyred since September 2008, when Mansur Mohamed (25), a Christian for three years, became the first to be executed by al-Shabaab. Each of these believers could have saved their lives by simply renouncing Christ and returning to Islam. Yet in each case these believers chose Christ over life, submitting their bodies to the Islamic sword in full assurance that their death would immediately be 'swallowed up in victory' (1 Corinthians 15:50-59). [For more on Somalia's martyrs, see here. ]
On 2 September the body of Juma Nuradin Kamil was found decapitated and dumped on the outskirts of Hudur City in south-western Somalia. A local Christian told Compass Direct News, 'It is usual for the al-Shabaab to decapitate those they suspect to have embraced the Christian faith, or sympathisers of Western ideals. Our brother accepted the Christian faith three years ago and was determined in his faith in God. We greatly miss him.' Witnesses saw three militants whom they suspect were members of al-Shabaab ambush and kidnap Kamil on 21 August. Local Christians say the abduction was so efficient that al-Shabaab must have been closely monitoring Kamil for some time.
Al-Shabaab includes large numbers of veterans of the Afghan jihad and is affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Al-Shabaab wants to turn Somalia into the next Afghanistan: a base and training centre for international jihad. In December 2010 al-Shabaab merged with Hizbul Islam, a nationalist-Salafist revolutionary group led by Sheik Hasan Dahir Aweys, formerly of the Islamic Courts Union. By doing so, al-Shabaab appeased, secured and strengthened its nationalist faction and broadened its local appeal. Al-Shabaab is actively training local and international recruits for local and international jihad, including militants from Boko Haram (Nigeria) as well as diaspora Somalis travelling on Western and other foreign passports.
International efforts to counter al-Shabaab have been insufficient. The African Union forces that had been fighting for control of Mogadishu are massively under-manned. Al-Shabaab's main weakness lies in its factionalism and tribalism. But even if al-Shabaab were to implode, the alternative US- and UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is totally Islamist and committed to the implementation of Sharia Law, including death to apostates. Most Somali Muslims still believe that Islam is the solution to everything. Somalia needs a miracle.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --
* have pity on Somalia: may he break through the darkness of Islam (Isaiah 59:15b-19); may the Islamists be ensnared in their own intrigues (Psalm 9:15,16); may the Lord enlighten the eyes of the suffering masses (2 Corinthians 3:14-18).
'And should not I [God] pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left.' (Jonah 4:11 ESV)
* shield and protect his besieged and imperilled believers; may they grow in faith and grace and may God provide all their needs, preserving them as living testaments to his power and love.
'I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' (Matthew 16:18 ESV)
PLEASE CONTINUE IN PRAYER FOR NIGERIA and SUDAN [See RLPB 124]
* JOS, NIGERIA: that God will intervene to end the violence. On Friday 9 September in Vwang Fwil Village in Jos South Local Government Area (LGA) all 14 members of the Christian Mallam Danboyi family were massacred in their beds by a mob of Fulani Muslim herdsmen wearing military uniforms. The dead ranged in age from 9mths to 70 years and included a pregnant woman. Then 12 Christians were massacred in midnight attacks on several villages in Barkin Ladi LGA. Around 100 Christians have been killed in this manner in Jos in the past month. Emmanuel Logman, the Chairman of Barkin Ladi Local Government Council, regards the persisting attacks as an attempt at 'ethnic cleansing'. According to police, Northern Muslim youths are being mobilised by text message to come to Jos and support the Muslim struggle. Please pray.
* SUDAN: that God will intervene in South Kordofan and Blue Nile (Sudan's 'new south') where ethnic cleansing continues and mass starvation looms. Please pray.
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
SOMALIA: A LAND OF TERROR AND MARTYRDOM
At least 25 Somali Christians have been martyred since September 2008, when Mansur Mohamed (25), a Christian for three years, became the first to be executed by al-Shabaab. On 2 September 2011 local Christians found the decapitated body of Juma Nuradin Kamil dumped in Hudur City, south-western Somalia. Kamil was abducted on 21 August, presumably by al-Shabaab militants who had been monitoring him. A local Christian leader told Compass Direct News, 'Our brother accepted the Christian faith three years ago and was determined in his faith in God. We greatly miss him.' Al-Shabaab, which controls most of southern Somalia, is determined to extinguish Christianity and is actively training local and international recruits for worldwide jihad. May God bring light. Please pray for Somalia's besieged, imperilled Church.
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