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MALI & BURKINA FASO: Captives Imperilled as Battle Heats Up
by Elizabeth Kendal
|Map showing conflict zone|
|Sr Gloria Narvaez, |
in better times.
During the night of 13-14 February, French troops operating in north-eastern Mali launched co-ordinated attacks on a jihadist base near Tinzaouaten on the border with Algeria. The assault, in which air strikes were followed by helicopter assaults and engagement on the ground, resulted in at least 20 senior jihadists being killed or captured and a large quantity of weapons and documents being seized. Among the dead were six high level JNIM commanders, including JNIM's co-founder and senior leader, Hasan al Ansari. Retaliation was all but guaranteed.
|Sophie Petronin, in better times.|
Click here for VIDEO (France24)
Hours later, on Friday 2 March, JNIM staged a devastating terror attack in Burkina Faso's capital city, Ouagadougou. At least eight jihadists armed with grenades and firearms, working in two groups of four or five, targeted the French Embassy and Army headquarters. Army headquarters was also struck with a massive car-bomb. The brazen co-ordinated attacks in the city centre left more than 30 dead and 85 wounded (ICG analysis 5 March]. On 3 March JNIM claimed responsibility and confirmed that the attack was retaliation for the 13-14 February operation that killed JNIM leader Hasan al Ansari.
|Click here to see |
Dr Elliot's video appeal for
the Burkina Faso Medical Clinic
'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' (from Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV).
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT:
* God Almighty will 'bare his holy arm' (roll up his sleeves) 'before the eyes of all the nations, and that all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God' (from Isaiah 52:10); may the Lord intervene to restore security and liberty to the Sahel -- ridding it of the Islamist-jihadist threat -- so Christian ministry might resume in earnest.
* God will sustain -- physically, emotionally and spiritually -- and ultimately deliver JNIM's five remaining hostages: Gloria Narvaez (Colombia), Sophie Petronin (France), Beatrice Stockly (Switzerland), Ken Elliot (Australia) and Iulian Ghergut (Romania).
* God will not permit the devil to have a victory here; may the Lord call, equip and send out workers into this desolate and needy harvest field (see Matthew 9:35-38).
'I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' (Matthew 16:18 ESV)
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
MALI & BURKINA FASO: CAPTIVES IMPERILLED AS BATTLE HEATS UP
Battles rage between the Mali-based al-Qaeda alliance known as JNIM and the French and G5 Sahel Cross-Border Joint Force troops tasked with combating terrorism in the Sahel. On 14-15 February French troops scored a major victory against JNIM in north-east Mali, killing six of its senior leaders, including its co-founder. On 2 March, having already promised retaliation, JNIM militants co-ordinated attacks in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou. The attacks, targeting the French Embassy and Army HQ, left 30 dead and 85 wounded. As violence has escalated so too has JNIM's need for cash. Consequently, JNIM -- which is holding four Christian aid workers and a Romanian for ransom -- has released two videos, featuring two of its five hostages. These captives are gravely imperilled. Please pray that God Almighty will intervene.
She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).