Tuesday, November 26, 2013

RLPB 238. November Update, Incl. Central African Republic (CAR), the LRA, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan-Refugees, Somalia and Syria

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 238 | Wed 27 Nov 2013

By Elizabeth Kendal

' . . . These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.'
(Revelation 3:7 NIV)

NOVEMBER 2013 UPDATE -- During November we prayed concerning . . . 

* ERITREA (RLPB 235), where persecution continues with more mass imprisonments and deaths in custody; and from where refugees are fleeing at the rate of some 3000 a month.

* BURMA (RLPB 236), where the regime continues to wage war against the Christian Kachin, despite peace talks.

* CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (CAR) (RLPB 237), where sectarian violence is escalating, leading observers to warn of the possibility of genocide.

CAR UPDATE (1): MAY GOD OPEN THE WAY FOR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION.
Writing in The Guardian (23 November) David Smith tells of Muslim rebels slitting the throat of a four-year-old child, razing whole villages, bludgeoning a young mother to death before leaving her crying toddler on the side of the road, throwing one young man to the crocodiles and torturing others. A Christian father whose sons were tortured told Smith: 'The Seleka are criminals. In the beginning, the relations between Christians and Muslims were good here but the Muslims followed the Seleka and now things have changed. The Christians feel betrayed by the Muslims and are starting to feel vengeance in their hearts. This is a very big challenge for the Church.' This challenge must be an issue for prayer. CAR needs peace -- but there will be no lasting peace without truth, justice and reconciliation. May God grace CAR with godly peacemakers.

CAR UPDATE (2): MAY GOD CLOSE THE DOOR ON SUDAN AND IRAN.
According to terrorism analyst Yossef Bodansky, Iran is funnelling weapons into CAR via Sudan as part of a plot by those two states to dominate Central and West Africa and exploit its resources. [See: Central African Republic (CAR): Violence linked to Sudan and Iran. Religious Liberty Monitoring (RLM), 20 Nov 2013.] News of Sudan and Iran involvement in CAR bodes ill for CAR's Christians. Anyone seeking to intervene in CAR will face, not a band of disparate rebels, but jihadist forces backed by Khartoum and Tehran -- desperate regimes fighting to secure the minerals and resources necessary for regime survival. (Pray Psalm 10)

CAR UPDATE (3): MAY GOD CLOSE THE DOOR ON KONY AND THE LRA.
Reports are circulating that the spirit-medium Joseph Kony, the head of the infamous Ugandan terror group the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), is on the verge of surrendering. These reports are without substance. To the contrary, like CAR's self-appointed president Michel Djotodia, Joseph Kony and the LRA are backed by Sudan. According to terrorism analyst Yossef Bodansky, Sudan intends to use the LRA as a proxy to destabilise CAR, South Sudan and Uganda so that Sudan's (and Iran's) interests in the region might be advanced (see above RLM link). UN special envoy Abou Moussa is deeply concerned that Djotodia has sent food, medicines and other supplies to LRA camps in CAR, supposedly in advance of an LRA surrender. Moussa advocates heightening pressure on Kony who is reportedly seriously ill. While many analysts presume Djotodia is being duped, it is not improbable that Djotodia is actually bolstering the LRA for use as a proxy to terrorise and kill Christians, destabilising CAR in pursuit of his own interests, as well as those of Islam, Sudan and Iran. Uganda's New Vision reports that while LRA attacks have recently been reported in South Sudan and Central African Republic, and while Kony is still widely feared, 'defections have increased while the number of attacks is down'. PLEASE PRAY for mass defections of LRA 'soldiers', who are almost all kidnapped children, and for God to close the door on Joseph Kony.


NOVEMBER 2013 ROUND-UP -- also this month . . .

* EGYPT: MAY GOD CLOSE THE DOOR ON ISLAMIC CRIMINALITY

Morning Star News (MSN) reports that three months after the Egyptian Army liberated Delga from militant Muslims, Islamists and criminals are terrorising Christians there and across Upper Egypt. As was noted in RLPB 228 (17 Sep 2013) and the Religious Liberty Monitoring post of 18 September, the Egyptian Army's attack on Islamists in Delga (a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold) was a crackdown on Islamist dissent and it had nothing to do with protecting Christians. The Egyptian military serves its own interests! Today Muslim criminals are extorting and persecuting Christians, demanding jizya (protection money sanctioned by the Qur'an in Sura 9:29). The police and military are not concerned that Islamists are kidnapping Christians, torturing them and demanding massive ransoms. Islamic criminals are discovering they are free to extort and persecute Christians with impunity -- as long as they do not challenge military rule. Christians are facing the return of dhimmitude, their status of being without rights under Islam. Egypt's Christians need our prayers.

* IRAN: MAY GOD OPEN THE WAY TO THE TRANSFORMATION OF IRAN

On 3 November US citizen Pastor Saeed Abedini, whose wife and two young children are resident in the US, was transferred from Evin prison to Rajai Shahr Prison. Rajai Shahr houses Iran's most violent criminals and is a place where prisoners are routinely murdered by other prisoners. In mid-November, prison officials told Abedini's father that Saeed was not permitted any personal possessions, including blankets or prescription medications. At least 40 Iranian citizens are presently incarcerated because of their faith in Jesus or their Christian activities. One is the critically ill Pastor Behnam Irani (43), who also is married with two young children. On 22 November MSN reported the story of a young convert named Armin Davoodi. As a Muslim, Armin had repeatedly dreamed of a shepherd pointing him to the light. Eventually he shared this with a young female convert who explained his dream and introduced him to Jesus. Armin's witness led to imprisonment, torture and beatings. Though his parents paid a lot of money to have him released from prison, when he continued with his faith and witness, ultimately a relative betrayed him. Armin is now in hiding, where he reportedly continues to dream of the shepherd pointing to the light. Pray for Iran's suffering yet growing church.

* PAKISTANI REFUGEES: THE CASE OF RABEEL
 (Update to RLPB 226.)
MAY GOD OPEN DOORS FOR REFUGEES SEEKING SECURITY AND HEALING


As a high achieving university student from a high profile devout Christian family in Lahore, Rabeel (21) was targeted for forced conversion. In August 2012 Rabeel was betrayed by a Muslim friend who gave him into the hands of militants from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). They raped and tortured Rabeel over the course of three days before dumping him. They then pursued and threatened the whole family. Since fleeing Pakistan in January 2013, his family has been languishing in a refugee camp, waiting for the UNHCR to assess their claim. As time drags on it becomes increasingly difficult to sustain their finances. Pray that the UNHCR will deal with their claim before closing for the Christmas break. Pray for Christian refugees who, due to systematic discrimination and persecution, often do not have the documentation the UNHCR requires. May the LORD of justice and mercy intervene, be their advocate, and open the doors.

* SOMALIA: MAY GOD CLOSE THE DOOR ON AL-SHABAAB

Morning Star News (MSN) reported on 14 November that on 20 October gunmen carried out their threat to kill Abdikhani Hassan whom they accused of 'spreading wrong religion'. Hassan (35), a pharmacist in Dharkenley District, Mogadishu, was married with two young children. Al-Shabaab is suspected of being responsible. Pray that God will redeem the blood and suffering of Somalia's Christian martyrs. May hearts be softened and opened to receive the gospel.

* SYRIA: MAY GOD CLOSE THE DOOR ON ISLAMIC EXPANSION

Sadad is a Christian village in a desert region of Syria some 100km north-east of Damascus. A coalition of rebel forces invaded and occupied the town on 21 October, seizing control in an orgy of  violence that can only be understood in the context of intensive religious hatred. Survivors told Human Rights Watch that the jihadists would not permit Christians to flee. Some 2,500 families managed to escape before the militants used the remaining 1,500 families as human shields and hostages. Jihadists even held individual Christians as human shields while fighting. According to the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama, Mor Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, in addition to the 46 residents killed, 30 were injured and 10 are missing. Numerous mutilated bodies were dumped in wells. He says the whole village was completely looted and even the ancient manuscripts have gone from the churches. The Syrian Arab Army liberated the village on 28 October. The rebel operation -- in which a battalion of the Free Syria Army joined forces with al-Qaeda-linked groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) -- was labelled: the 'Battle of God’s Doors Do Not Shut'. Indeed, God's open doors do not shut, but God does shut doors (Revelation 3:7) Pray that God will shut the door on all Islamic jihadists.

* SYRIA: MAY GOD CLOSE THE DOOR ON AL-QAEDA

Stratfor Intelligence reported on 23 November that al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels had seized the al-Omar oil field, the largest in eastern Syria. According to Stratfor, this would cut off Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's access to almost all local crude reserves and put nearly all of Syria's usable reserves in the hands of the al-Nusra Front and other Islamist units. Please bring this critical situation to the Lord our God, 'who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens' (Revelation 3:7 ESV).

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Elizabeth Kendal is author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

RLPB 237. Central African Republic (CAR): Genocide Looms

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 237 | Wed 20 Nov 2013

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (CAR): GENOCIDE LOOMS
By Elizabeth Kendal

Central African Republic (CAR) is French-speaking and its population is around 76 percent Christian (mostly Protestant). On Sunday 24 March 2013, Seleka -- a coalition of local and foreign Arabic-speaking Islamic militias -- seized control of the capital, Bangui, in an orgy of violence and looting. But Seleka does not rape, loot and kill indiscriminately. Rather, Seleka attacks Christians and spares Muslims, causing traditional community trust to evaporate, and creating a sectarian tinderbox.

Rebel commander and self-appointed president Michel Djotodia, a former CAR diplomat who was radicalised in Sudan, admits that he does not know who all the fighters are because some are escaped criminals and most do not follow his orders. 'It is hard for me to control them,' says Djotodia, who maintains strong ties to Khartoum, Sudan.

After months of terror, an organised armed response is emerging out of the mostly Christian communities of northern CAR. Most villages have long had defence militias that protect residents from bandits. Known as anti-balaka (literally anti-machete) these groups, now large and angry, are out to avenge Seleka crimes. Armed with home-made weapons and adorned with colourful fetishes ('juju' i.e. occult charms), these anti-balaka militias have begun attacking not just Seleka, but local Muslims. Seleka might be responsible for turning CAR into a sectarian tinderbox, but by attacking local Muslims -- just because they are Muslims -- the anti-balaka militias are lighting the fire.

North of Bangui, in the Ouham prefecture, some 170,000 people have been displaced. Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, spent early November travelling the region with photographer Marcus Bleasdale. Bouckaert writes: 'In the early morning of 6 September, anti-balaka forces working with military elements loyal to [ousted president] BozizĂ© carried out a series of brutal surprise and near-simultaneous attacks on Seleka bases and Muslim communities in several villages around Bossangoa, killing dozens. Muslim males, regardless of age, faced death.' The BBC reports that on 9 September, Moustapha Mohamed's father, a village chief in nearby Bouce, was killed by a 'Christian' militia that was attacking local Muslims. Mohamed praises his Christian neighbours who alerted many Muslims that armed groups were coming after them. However, later the same day, Muslims organised reprisal attacks against Christians. By the time the violence had finished, at least 14 were dead (including three Muslims) and some 485 homes had been burnt. Aukin Nountabaye, a priest in the Bouca diocese, narrowly escaped when Muslims stormed his church. He fled Bouca, walking for four days to reach Bangui. 

Bouckaert writes (early November) that it is possible to drive for hours around Bossangoa, Ouham's capital, without seeing anybody, on roads that are littered with bundles of belongings dropped by those fleeing for their lives. In the bush the displaced people are stalked by infection and malaria, enemies just as merciless as Seleka. 'Those who have made it to Bossangoa,' writes Bouckaert, 'live in desperate conditions: Every structure and inch of space around the town's Catholic church -- its seminary, guest house, school, library, storage rooms, soccer pitch, and the surrounding fields -- have been taken over by displaced people, all Christians.' On 25 October the UNHCR put the number sheltering in the Catholic Mission at 37,000. A further 2,700 are sheltering in the hospital and 728 Muslims are holed-up in a local school. Around 1000  ethnic Fula (Muslim) have been occupying the airstrip without access to shelter, clean water, food and sanitation. (Bouckaert's harrowing report and Bleasdale's photo essay)

UNICEF goodwill ambassador, Mia Farrow, recently returned from a week-long visit to CAR warning, 'The seeds are present for a genocide.' Bouckaert said similarly, 'The anti-balaka's attacks have triggered brutal reprisals by Seleka fighters against Christian communities. This heinous cycle of inter-religious violence only continues to intensify, threatening to explode into an all-out war between Christians and Muslims.' UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, on 1 November warned that, if there is no intervention, '. . . this will end with Christian communities, Muslim communities killing each other . . . I will not exclude the possibility of a genocide occurring.'

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --

* refine his Church, preserving the faithful and supplying their needs; may the Church grow in faith, solidarity, grace and numbers as people seek the Lord for peace and the healing of their land.

'Some trust in chariots and some in horses [i.e. military might], but we trust in the name of the LORD our God' (Psalm 20:7 ESV)

* intervene to end the dangerous cycle of sectarian violence; may  he raise up and empower peace-makers able to influence the anti-balaka militias to focus on defence and refrain from attacking local Muslims.

'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.' (Matthew 5:9 ESV)

In Psalm 10:14a we are told that the Lord sees and notes 'mischief and vexation', not as a mere observer, but for a purpose: 'that you may take it into your hands' (ESV), or 'to requite it with thy hand' (KJV). So . . .

* 'Break the arm [means of action, supply lines and the like] of the wicked and evildoer [local and international fighters and inciters]; call his wickedness to account till you find none.' (Psalm 10:15 ESV)


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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GENOCIDE LOOMS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (CAR)


Seleka, a coalition of local and foreign Islamic militias, seized control of Central African Republic (population 70 percent Christian) in March. By attacking Christians and sparing Muslims, they have turned CAR into a sectarian tinderbox. 'Christian' militias are responding, targeting not just Seleka bases, but local Muslims, who respond by carrying out reprisals against Christians. Peter Bouckaert (Human Rights Watch) warns: 'This heinous cycle of inter-religious violence only continues to intensify, threatening to explode into an all-out war between Christians and Muslims.' UNICEF goodwill ambassador, Mia Farrow (who recently returned from CAR), the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and other investigators warn that genocide is a real possibility.  Please pray for the Church in CAR. May God intervene!

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today 
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

RLPB 236. Burma (Myanmar): constitution is obstacle to peace

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 236 | Wed 13 Nov 2013

BURMA (Myanmar): CONSTITUTION IS OBSTACLE TO PEACE
By Elizabeth Kendal

Adoniram and Ann Judson arrived in Burma as pioneer missionaries in 1813. Adoniram Judson endured grief upon grief, severe hardship, dangers, persecutions and imprisonment to translate the Bible into the Burmese language and led many to Christ. At that time, Burma was a feudal society, dominated by ethnic Burmese (Bama) Buddhists who treated the other mostly animist ethnic nations amongst them as serfs or slaves. In 1885 the British annexed Burma into British-administered India, introducing democracy and capitalism and improving the situation for the ethnic minorities. Burma gained independence in 1948 but the promise of autonomy for ethnic nations was never honoured. Ever since, the ethnic nations have been resisting a return to the old order of brutal Burmese-Buddhist domination complete with exploitation, repression, crippling discrimination and violent persecution. The Burmese-Buddhist regime views this resistance as grounds for war.

On 2 September 2013, 200 soldiers of the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) raided Nhka Ga village in Kachin State, killing two men and torturing ten others, including the Rev Ram Me. One man, bound and severely tortured, was forced to watch his 29-year-old wife being raped in front of him. On 2 October Tatmadaw soldiers attacked two villages in the south of Kachin State. Around 1000 villagers fled as mortars rained down on their homes. Hundreds of Kachin civilians sought refuge in a local church where soldiers held them hostage for three days while their homes were looted. The stress of captivity proved fatal for one 76-year-old woman. On 30 October a pack of Tatmadaw soldiers -- including a captain and a lieutenant-colonel -- gang-raped a 15-year-old Kachin girl over the course of the day before handing her back to her parents (see: Free Burma Rangers). Officially, the junta is fighting the Kachin Army because it has resisted calls to disarm and dissolve. In truth, the regime covets the Kachins' resource-rich lands and is prepared to ethnically cleanse the Kachin to get it. (See RLPB 132, Nov 2011)

On Monday 4 November, 107 representatives and witnesses from Burma's various ethnic rebel armies came together in Myitkyina, the capital of the northern Kachin State, for two days of talks aimed at brokering a multilateral peace agreement. A joint statement was issued on Tuesday 5 November, announcing that an agreement had been made in principle to sign a nationwide cease-fire agreement and to establish a framework for political dialogue. Whilst the next meeting is scheduled for December, Lt-Gen Myint Soe has already conceded that a nationwide ceasefire will probably not eventuate, as the regime envisages a peace that is in accordance with the 2008 constitution and this is not the peace the ethnic nations are seeking.

The 2008 constitution was written under military rule and serves military interests by ensuring the heavily invested Burmese-Buddhist military remains in control. The 2008 constitution stands as an obstacle to peace because it mandates the centralisation of government and military against the interests and wishes of the long-marginalised and severely persecuted ethnic-religious minorities. It even contains 'exception clauses' that give the military the legal right to deprive people of fundamental human rights and even orchestrate a military coup if the military deems it necessary for the purpose of  safeguarding the constitution. On Saturday 6 October 2013 the regime issued a statement -- or possibly a threat -- warning that the state and the people will be in 'serious danger and face consequences beyond expectation' if the 2008 constitution is scrapped.  

Many observers believe the military engages in talks only so it can consolidate its forward positions, and the regime only sponsors talks so it can gain legitimacy and foreign investment. The reality is there will never be peace in Burma until the Burmese-Buddhist regime respects the rights of the ethnic nations to have autonomy in their lands where they seek to preserve their language and culture and practise their faith freely in peace and security. Most of Burma's Christians belong to ethnic nations: the Kachin, Chin, Lisu and Lahu are overwhelming Christian and the Karen (the largest ethnic nation after the Burmese) is around 40 percent Christian.


PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --

* intervene to direct all political dialogue, both what takes place in public and what happens secretly; may God's will be done in spite of the schemes of 'men'.  'There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD' (Proverbs 21:30 NIV).

* embolden world leaders of conscience to 'Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.' (Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV).

* bless his faithful people, providing them with protection, comfort, advocates and all their basic daily needs; may peace and security be realised.

ALSO:
PLEASE CONTINUE TO COVER PAKISTAN IN PRAYER
There has been a massive escalation in threats against Christian institutions since the1 Nov drone assassination of Hakeemullah Mehsud (head of the Pakistani Taliban). Pray that the Lord of hosts will defend his church; that God will be their shield and fortress.
'whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. 
. . . no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed . . . '

(Isaiah 54:15b, 17a ESV)


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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THE CONSTITUTION OBSTRUCTS PEACE IN BURMA
(Myanmar)

Representatives from Burma's various ethnic rebel armies came together in Myitkyina, Kachin State, on 4 November for two days of talks aimed at brokering a multilateral peace agreement with the regime. The parties have agreed in principle to sign a nationwide cease-fire and to establish a framework for political dialogue. The main obstacle to peace will be the 2008 constitution written by the military to serve the military's interests. It mandates centralisation while the long-marginalised and persecuted ethnic nations are seeking autonomy in a confederation. The Burmese army continues to wage war and commit gross human rights abuses and violence against the Christian Kachin as punishment for their resistance to Burmese-Buddhist exploitation. Talks will resume in December. Please pray for believers and that God will bring peace to Burma.

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

RLPB 235. Eritrea: persecution fills prisons, fuels refugee crisis

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 235 | Wed 06 Nov 2013

ERITREA: PERSECUTION FILLS PRISONS, FUELS REFUGEE CRISIS
Plus -- tensions high in Egypt and Pakistan
By Elizabeth Kendal

In 2001 the Eritrean government cancelled elections, arrested political opponents and closed down independent media. Determined to eliminate anything that could threaten national cohesion, the regime extended the repression in May 2002 to 'foreign' and 'non-traditional' religious groups. That meant all except the state-sanctioned Muslim, Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Lutheran denominations were banned. Since then, many thousands of mostly evangelical Christians have suffered severely at the hands of a regime known for its human rights abuses, appalling prison conditions and widespread use of torture. Even teenagers are not spared and must complete military service in military training camps before they can graduate from school. Separated from their parents, religious persecution in these camps is systematic and severe. (See RLPB 221, Eritrea: systematic persecution of Protestant youths, 30 July 2013).

World Watch Monitor reports that during the week of 14 October, Wehazit Berhane Debesai, an Eritrean Christian woman in her 30s, died in custody after a year of harsh imprisonment. Wehazit died of pneumonia after being denied medical treatment because she refused to deny her faith. On 28 October Eritrean security forces raided a prayer meeting in Maitemenai, a suburb north of the capital Asmara. They arrested between 70 Christians (as reported by Open Doors) and 185 Christians (according to Release International). Where they are is not yet confirmed. The total number of Eritrean believers currently incarcerated for their faith is estimated at 1500.

On 24 October the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Sheila B Keetharuth, raised the issue of Eritrea's human rights in the UN General Assembly. She noted that serious human rights abuses are behind the flight of up to 3000 Eritreans each month. 'The current human rights picture is desperately bleak,' she told journalists. 'People feel trapped in a long hopeless situation.' Later, several NGOs jointly hosted  a side meeting on Eritrea at which five Eritrean victims gave their personal testimonies. Elsa Chyrum, Director of Human Rights Concern Eritrea, noted: 'Although the human rights situation is extremely alarming in Eritrea, this is the first time that it has been brought to the attention of the General Assembly by the UN-appointed Special Rapporteur. It is clear the recent Lampedusa tragedy which resulted in the loss of over 350 lives, the vast majority of whom were Eritreans, has had an impact on the consciences of many state governments, leading to questions being asked relating to the root causes of those who were fleeing.' Indeed, not only were most of the refugees involved in the Lampedusa tragedy Eritreans, but according to Father Mussie Zerai, Chairman of the Habeshia Agency which works on behalf of these migrants, the majority of those Eritreans were Christians.

According to a recently published report from the Feinstein International Center, Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA, those fleeing Eritrea usually employ people smugglers to take them north through Sudan to Libya before they embark on the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean to the EU. Alternatively they may go north through eastern Sudan and Egypt to Israel, or south into Ethiopia, South Sudan and beyond. The route through eastern Sudan is especially high risk. Increasingly Bedouin traffickers are kidnapping Eritrean refugees straight out of Sudanese refugee camps. The Eritreans are then taken to concrete bunker torture chambers in the Sinai (Egypt) where they are tortured while money is extorted from their relatives via mobile phone. A Catholic nun who serves the Eritrean community in Israel says they recently heard that 'with God's help, 150 people escaped from the torture camps, as a result of the chaotic situation prevailing in the Sinai following the attacks by the Egyptian army. But the escapees have disappeared; we do not know what has happened to them.'

The trafficking of Eritrean refugees has become an extremely lucrative business. As noted in RLPB 205 -- Egypt: evil thrives in lawless Sinai (10 April 2013) -- the corruption trail stretches right back to Eritrea where the regime is busy not only creating refugees but in profiting from their misery.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --

* break the arm (the mechanism of action) of the wicked (Psalm 10:15) who profit from misery. Lord, eliminate the demand by destroying the Bedouin trafficking rings and Sinai torture chambers. Lord, eliminate the corruption by heaping consequences on those who profit from human suffering. Lord, eliminate the supply by bringing radical change to Eritrea so that the flow of refugees might cease at its source. 

* break the arm of the wicked who inflict violence and torture on the Lord's beloved. Lord, convict them of sin, soften their hearts, restrain or remove them.

Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
    call his wickedness to account till you find none.
(Psalm 10:15 ESV)

* protect, sustain and comfort his suffering people, providing them with all their needs.

* bring revival to Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran state-sanctioned churches, so that disunity will dissolve and believers will love, care for and cover one another; may the Lord so work in the Eritrean Church that she is refined as pure silver for future ministry and for the glory of God.


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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ERITREAN PERSECUTION FILLS PRISONS, FUELS REFUGEE CRISIS


Up to 3000 Eritreans flee persecution every month. Their extreme danger was shown by the recent Lampedusa tragedy. The vast majority of over 350 lives lost were Eritreans, most of whom were Christians. Those fleeing for asylum via Israel risk falling into the hands of Bedouin traffickers in eastern Sudan. These victims of the Bedouin are tortured so as to extort money from their relatives. Despite the risks, the situation in Eritrea is so horrendous that the flow continues. Some 1500 Christians are currently incarcerated in Eritrea purely because of their faith. On 14 October another young Christian died in captivity. On 28 October a prayer meeting was raided and over 70 believers were arrested. Please pray for God to intervene in Eritrea.

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Also, TENSIONS ARE HIGH IN:

* Egypt, where the trial of Mohamed Morsi has began. Minutes into the first session (3 November) the trial was adjourned to 8 January 2014, due to courtroom chaos. Pray that God will surround his people and protect Christian churches, schools, hospitals and other property from reprisal attacks by Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

* Pakistan, after the 1 November drone assassination of Hakeemullah Mehsud, the emir of the al Qaeda-linked Tehreek-e-Taliban.  Pray that God will surround his people and protect Christian churches, schools, hospitals and other property from Taliban reprisal attacks.

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)