Tuesday, June 19, 2012

RLPB 164. Burma & Sudan: warfare against Christians (plus Nigeria)

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 164 | Wed 20 Jun 2012

By Elizabeth Kendal

Earlier this month two horrendous wars marked one year since the breakout of hostilities. The Islamist Arab-supremacist regime in Khartoum, Sudan, began its genocidal campaign against the predominantly Christian Africans of the Nuba Mountain, South Kordofan, on 5 June 2011. The Buddhist Burman-supremacist regime in Naypyidaw, Burma (Myanmar), launched its military campaign against the Christian Kachin of Kachin State in northern Burma on 9 June 2011. In fact these are only the most recent episodes in two long histories of military brutality, ethnic cleansing and even attempted genocide. Despite the enormity of the human suffering, the 'international community' and the mainstream media are largely uninterested, for these conflicts -- one a declared Islamic jihad, the other a blight on the Burmese fairytale -- are just too hot to handle, too politically incorrect to touch. Furthermore their poor Christian victims are actually an inconvenience to those who make decisions based on economic and geo-strategic interests, as distinct from righteousness and justice. These 'inconvenient' Christians -- victims of greed and racial-religious hatred -- need our prayers.


UN figures put the total number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Kachin State at over 62,000 with some 24,000 in camps in government-controlled areas. Another estimated 40,000 are in areas controlled by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) where government blockades ensure that humanitarian aid (including food and medical supplies) is scarce. The KIA puts the number of IDPs at closer to 100,000. Well over 7,000 refugees have fled across the border into China. Medics fear that without mosquito nets the rainy season will herald an explosion of malaria cases. Further to this, a Human Rights Watch consultant and Burma specialist, Matthew Smith, warns that 'the IDP camps are essentially pools of prey for human traffickers'. (See Smith's report for HRW: 'Untold Miseries', 20 March 2012.) Military violence has left some of the IDPs severely traumatised (e.g. speechless, incontinent). Churches throughout the state who are providing for and sheltering hundreds of IDPs each are struggling greatly, especially as Burmese soldiers routinely intimidate pastors and attack churches. The Kachin are a Christian people with a distinctly Christian culture and Burma's Buddhist Burman-supremacist regime wants to exploit their resource-rich ancestral lands.


Hundreds of thousands of displaced predominantly Christian Africans in South Kordofan are facing a slow and agonising death by starvation due to famine engineered with genocidal intent by the National Islamic Front / National Congress Party regime in Khartoum. The Nuba are a predominantly Christian African people and the Islamist Arab-supremacist regime in Khartoum is in the process of annihilating them so it can control their resource-rich ancestral lands. In refugee camps in South Sudan, some of those who have survived the long trek from South Kordofan and neighbouring Blue Nile State have been dying from dehydration, diarrhoea and sheer exhaustion. The Jamam refugee camp in South Sudan's Upper Nile State holds some 20,000 refugees. An aid worker from Oxfam, Peter Struijf, told Associated Press (18 June) that children are already perishing and the camp will be out of water in a week. Whilst the impending rainy season will provide much needed water for refugees, it will exacerbate the plight of the estimated 40,000 IDPs still trekking south.

'For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armour of God . . .praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.' (Taken from Ephesians 6:12-18 ESV.)


* Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord who provides) will provide Kachin and Sudanese refugees with all their needs; may the Holy Spirit strengthen their hearts, keeping faith and hope alive, so they will seek the Lord and experience his grace and power.

* Yahweh Sabaoth (the Lord of hosts / the commander of heaven's angelic armies) will intervene for his people to deliver vengeance to their enemies and recompense to the victims (Isaiah 35:4; also 40:10).

PRAYER: 'O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.' (Psalm 10:17,18 ESV.)


A war of ethnic cleansing is being waged by Burma's Buddhist Burman-supremacist regime against the Christian Kachin of Kachin State in northern Burma. Up to100,000 Christian Kachin have been displaced, humanitarian aid is routinely blockaded, children are kidnapped and trafficked, and civilians are so brutalised by the military that many are severely traumatised. Meanwhile, genocide is being perpetrated by Sudan's Islamist Arab-supremacist regime against the predominantly Christian African populations of the 'new south' (Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile). The National Islamic Front / National Congress Party regime in Khartoum has engineered a famine that could kill 500,000 in coming months. Whilst hundreds of thousands have escaped into refugee camps in South Sudan, weak and frail children, wounded and elderly are perishing from dehydration and sheer exhaustion. Please pray!


On Sunday 17 June Islamic terrorists struck five churches in the central middle-belt state of Kaduna.  Boko Haram has claimed responsibility. The Kaduna state government has imposed a 24-hour curfew. Two churches were bombed in the Muslim-dominated north of the state: the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) church in Wusasa, Zaria Local Government Area (LGA) and Christ the King Cathedral Catholic church in Sabon Gari LGA, just north of Zaria city. Three churches were bombed in Christian-dominated Kaduna South LGA: the Shalom Church in the Trikania, along with two churches in Nassarawa and Barnawa. Ethnic-Christian youths responded to the massive, multiple bombings at Shalom Church with rioting that claimed seven lives and left dozens wounded. The weekend's toll: at least 52 dead and more than 150 wounded. Please pray for the Church in Nigeria.