Southern Kaduna Killings: Christians Declare One Month Prayer, Fasting

Christians praying in church (File Photo)

 

The Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State has declared a non-denominational prayer and fasting rally to seek for God’s intervention on the incessant attacks by gunmen in some communities in the southern part of the state.

Speaking during the prayer session held at ECWA Church in the Kaduna State capital on Sunday, the state CAN Chairman, Reverend Joseph Hayab and the state Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, Hassan Hyet, both faulted the government and security agencies for not doing enough to stop the killing of Christians in Southern Kaduna.

The CAN Chairman specifically asked the presidency to stop being the mouthpiece of the bandits going by its recent statement on the southern Kaduna killings, even as he described the attacks on mostly Christians communities as an ethnic cleansing.

Read Also: Southern Kaduna Lawmakers Call For Arrest, Prosecution Of Perpetrators

But the Commander of Operation Safe Haven which is involved in the ongoing security operations in southern Kaduna and Platuea State, Major General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, says the attacks are pure reprisals and counter reprisals carried out by the Fulani communities and Southern Kaduna natives, and therefore, has no ethnic agenda.

He, however, added that enough is being done by security agencies to bring lasting peace to Southern Kaduna, while he also called on both parties to sheath their swords.

Muted Easter Sunday At Jerusalem’s Church Of Holy Sepulchre

A Christian clergyman waits for the Easter Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre before the start of the Easter Sunday service amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 12, 2020. – All cultural sites in the Holy Land are shuttered, regardless of their religious affiliation, as authorities seek to forestall the spread of the deadly respiratory disease. Christians will be prevented from congregating for the Easter service, whether this coming Sunday — as in the case of Bitar and fellow Catholics — or a week later on April 19 in the case of the Orthodox. Sebastian Scheiner / POOL / AFP.

 

A handful of priests celebrated Easter on Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

In the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, the church — which had not been closed over Easter for at least a century — has been shuttered to worshippers along with all cultural sites in the Holy Land to curb the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory disease.

“Easter is a time for life,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who arrived at the church under the watchful eye of Israeli security forces.

“Despite the signs of death everywhere, life will prevail as long as someone is giving life out of love for others,” he added, before entering the church.

A few faithful had gathered at the church’s inner courtyard, including one man in an immaculate white gown who had prayed in front of the closed door.

The Sepulchre is considered the holiest site in Christianity, and it typically attracts thousands of worshippers over the Easter weekend.

READ ALSO: EASTER: Pope Offers Prayer For COVID-19 Sick

But the Old City, in east Jerusalem, has been rendered a ghost town following strict social distancing measures imposed by Israel, which has reported nearly 11,000 cases of the novel coronavirus.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six day war and later annexed it, in a move never recognised by the international community.

AFP

Pope Skips Mass Due To ‘Mild Ailment’ – Vatican

Pope Francis arrives to lead his weekly general audience on St.Peter’s square on February 26, 2020. Tiziana FABI / AFP.

 

Pope Francis cancelled a scheduled appearance at mass in Rome on Thursday because of “a mild ailment”, the Vatican said, the day after he appeared to be suffering a cold.

“Due to a mild ailment, he preferred to stay in the vicinity of Saint Martha’s,” the guest house at the Vatican where the 83-year old pontiff lives, chief press officer Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

The mass in question was at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, one of Rome’s biggest and largest churches.

Bruni said the Argentine’s schedule remained otherwise unchanged.

The announcement came as Italy struggles to control the largest outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe with some 400 cases.

The Vatican made no reference to the disease in its announcement.

Francis has not curtailed any of his activities, which often include mingling with crowds and shaking hands.

The pontiff, who only has one lung and suffers problems with one hip, very rarely cancels an appointment in his busy schedule.

Vatican News said the pope had earlier Thursday celebrated the daily mass at Saint Martha’s House, before meeting members of a global Catholic climate movement as planned.

AFP

Ondo Youths Set Church Ablaze Over Alleged Dig-Up Of Baby From Premises

 

Angry youths have burnt down a church in Akure, the Ondo State capital after the corpse of a 12 months old boy was allegedly exhumed from the premises.

The one-year-old boy, Gold Kolawole, was declared missing on November 10, during church service at the children’s section of Sotitobire Praying Ministry in the Ondo State capital.

The situation turned violent after news filtered that the corpse of the missing one-year-old was found inside the church premises.

An eyewitness told Channels Television that rumours had filtered onto the streets that the body of the missing boy had been exhumed from the church premises which triggered the attack.

Kolawole’s mother, Modupe raised an alarm after he went missing during a church service in November.

Speaking to Channels Television, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Undie Adie, however, said that nobody was exhumed from the church premises.

RELATED: Family, Prophet Trade Blame Over Disappearance Of Minor From Ondo Church

He however confirmed that the founder of the church, Alfa Babatunde has been taken into the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS) for questioning.

He also confirmed that a number of casualties were recorded during the attack on the church, but insists his men were only on the ground to maintain law and order.

Since the disappearance of the one-year-old boy, his parents and the General-Overseer have been trading blames over his disappearance.

See photos below: 

Teenager Arrested For ‘Stealing’ Tithes, Offerings In Church

File photo

 

The police have arrested 18-year-old Elikor Ehud for allegedly stealing tithes and offering worth N670, 000 from the altar in a church.

Ehud was arrested after Pastor Moses Nwoke of Divine Chosen Vine Ministry, Furniture Avenue, Ejigbo reported to the police after church service that unknown persons broke the wooden boxes placed on the altar meant for tithes and special seeds of faith offering and stole the money.

READ ALSO: Troops Kill Bandit, Destroy Two Camps Used For Kidnapping In Kaduna

According to the police, in a statement signed by its spokesperson, DSP Bala Elkana, the suspect confessed to stealing the cash from the church boxes.

He also mentioned one Lucky as his accomplice, and the police say efforts are on to apprehend the said accomplice.

The Police spokesperson added that Ehud was arrested on Tuesday, October 15 and will be charged to court.

 

Six Cultists and Gangsters Arrested In Alapere

Also, operatives of Operation Crush attached to Alapere Division have arrested some gangsters suspected to be members of Eiye and Aiye Confraternity, after engaging in a battle of supremacy with dangerous weapons such as axe and cutlass, at Demurin area, Alapere.

The team, led by the Divisional Police Officer Alapere arrested two key leaders of the gangs namely, Olawale Toheeb and Joseph Obinna.

According to the statement by the police spokesperson, four additional suspects namely, Obasi Ekene, Promise Onoja, OgoekeWeri Omokosi, and Saviour Edet, were arrested at their hideout in Mack Brown Hotel, Church Street Alapere.

“The suspects confessed to belong to Eiye and Aiye Confraternity respectively and are responsible for series of violent attacks recorded in Alapere and environ.

“A large quantity of weeds suspected to be Indian hemp, short axes and Cutlasses were recovered from their hideout. The suspects will be charged to court,” the statement added.

Gunmen Kill Four At Catholic Parade In Burkina Faso

 

Gunmen killed four Catholics in a religious procession in northern Burkina Faso a day after a priest and five parishioners were murdered at mass, church officials said Tuesday.

The parade with a statue of the Virgin Mary was moving through the town of Ouahigouya on Monday when “a group of terrorists intercepted the procession, killing four worshippers and burning the statue,” said a spokesman for the Ouagadougou Cathedral.

According to the Burkina Faso news agency AIB, the assailants stopped the procession. “They let the minors go, executed four adults, and destroyed the statue,” it quoted a local person as saying.

Paul Ouedraogo, president of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger, told a meeting of bishops in the capital Ouagadougou the attack had claimed four lives.

The killings came a day after a group of 20-30 armed men, according to witnesses, burst into the Catholic church in Dablo, also in the Nord Region of Burkina Faso, shooting dead five parishioners and their priest.

The attackers set fire to the church, several shops and a small cafe before heading to the health centre, which they looted, burning the chief nurse’s vehicle.

Two days earlier, French special forces had freed four foreign hostages in Burkina Faso during an overnight raid that cost the lives of two soldiers.

“This concerns all of us whatever our religion or ethnicity,” said President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

“Stick together”

Kabore urged his compatriots to “stick together,” warning such attacks threatened to undermine religious coexistence in a country where some two thirds of the population are Muslim to one third Christian.

“Burkina Faso is confronted by a difficult situation,” said Kabore. “These terrorists have remodelled their modus operandi. First, by creating inter-communcal conflicts and today inter-religious conflicts as Christians have been killed for their faith, for merely practising their religion.

“Burkina has always been reputed as being a tolerant country. We must work to safeguard this richness passed down to us by our ancestors,” said Kabore, a Catholic.

Two weeks ago, there was a similar attack against a Protestant church in Silgadji, also in the north, when gunmen on motorbikes killed a pastor and five worshippers.

Burkina has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a number of jihadist groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

The raids began in 2015 in the north before targeting the capital Ouagadougou and other regions, notably in the east.

Nearly 400 people have been killed since 2015 — mainly in hit-and-run raids — according to an AFP tally.

Jihadist groups target Christian clerics as well as Muslim ones they do not consider sufficiently radical in a country where traditionally both religions have co-existed peaceably.

Last month, jihadists attacked a village school in Maitaougou, in the eastern province of Koulpelogo, killing five teachers and a municipal worker.

Former colonial ruler France has deployed 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in a mission codenamed Barkhane to help local forces flush out jihadists.

Pastor, Four Others Killed In Burkina Faso Church Attack

Burkina Faso on the map.

 

Five people including a pastor died in an attack on a church in Burkina Faso, security and local sources said Monday in a country which has seen a surge in killings blamed on jihadists.

Sunday’s assault in the small northern town of Silgadji was the first on a church in the impoverished west African nation.

READ ALSO: Four Dead In Suspected Boko Haram Attack In Cameroon

“Unidentified armed individuals have attacked the Protestant church in Silgadji killing four members of the congregation and the pastor. At least two other people are missing,” a security source told AFP.

AFP

13 Killed As Church Roof Collapses In South Africa

Mob Burns Nigerian To Death In South Africa

 

The roof of a church collapsed during mass near the eastern South African city of Durban, killing 13 people and injuring at least 16, officials said Friday.

The accident happened on Thursday evening in the town of Dlangubo, north of Durban, after heavy rains.

READ ALSO: Malian PM Maiga Resigns After Ogossagou Violence

“The roof of the building collapsed because of heavy rains last night … at this point we have a total of 13 fatalities,” said Lennox Mabaso, spokesman for the provincial traditional affairs department.

“Such a tragedy. 13 fatalities 16 people treated by paramedics,” tweeted Robert McKenzie, spokesman for Kwa-Zulu Natal province’s emergency services.

AFP

Pope Francis Condemns Bombing Of Philippine Church

Pope Francis

 

Pope Francis strongly condemned Sunday’s bombing of a Catholic church that killed at least 18 people on the southern Philippine island of Jolo.

“I reiterate my strongest reprobation for this episode of violence who is once again plunging the Christian community into mourning,” Francis said during an Angelus message as he wound up World Youth Day celebrations in Panama.

AFP

Philippines Vows To Crush ‘terrorists’ After Church Bombs Kill 20

 

The Philippines vowed to destroy those behind twin bombings that killed 20 people during a Sunday church service in the country’s restive south, six days after a referendum on autonomy for the mainly Muslim region returned an overwhelming “yes” vote.

The attack wounded 81 and was one of the deadliest in recent years in a region long plagued by instability. It came amid hope and excitement about the ratification of a devolution plan that aims to bring development, jobs and peace to one of Asia’s poorest and most volatile places.

READ ALSO: One Killed As Protesters Storm Turkish Military Camp In North Iraq

The first explosion went off inside the cathedral on Jolo island, in Sulu province, and was followed by a second blast outside, which was detonated as security forces raced to the scene, officials said.

“The enemies of the state have boldly challenged the capability of the government to secure the safety of the citizenry in that region,” said Salvador Panelo, spokesman of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The armed forces of the Philippines will rise to the challenge and crush these godless criminals.”

 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but police suspect the bombings were the work of Abu Sayyaf, a militant group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State and is notorious for its bombings and brutality.

“They want to show force and sow chaos,” national police chief Oscar Albayalde told DZMM radio, suggesting Abu Sayyaf was the prime suspect.

Jolo is a stronghold of the group, which runs a lucrative piracy and kidnapping operation that successive governments have failed to break up. The group, which operates in the waters and islands of western Mindanao, has beheaded numerous foreign captives when ransom demands were not met.

Pictures distributed by the military of the inside of the Jolo church showed several rows of wooden pews destroyed, with debris strewn across a blackened floor.

 

Church Attacked In Ghana Over Pastor’s Doom Prophesy

Ghana Flag

 

Angry young Muslims attacked a charismatic church in Ghana’s capital Accra after its pastor predicted the country’s chief imam would die this year, religious leaders said on Friday.

Wielding clubs and machetes, they attacked a security guard at the entrance to the Glorious Word and Power Ministry church then began hurling stones at its windows and smashing up the musical instruments and furniture inside.

The incident came after its celebrity pastor, Reverend Isaac Owusu-Bempah, prophesied the deaths of Muslim spiritual leader Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu and Ghana’s Muslim vice president, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in a New Year’s Eve sermon.

Sheikh Sharubutu condemned the violence and called for calm.

“Ghana has gained respect in the eyes of the world because of the peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims. We’re all brothers and nothing must divide us,” Sheikh Sharubutu told AFP at his residence in Accra.

“We must all restrain ourselves and pray for life. Ghana is all we have. Religion is supposed to unite us and not divide us,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.

The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, which is the umbrella body supervising charismatic churches, has raised red flags over the prophecy.

“It is the Council’s considered opinion that prophecies that concern individuals must be given to such individuals personally and privately… in order not to create fear and panic in the entire nation,” said council president Reverend Paul Frimpong-Manso in a statement.

“It must be noted that whatever affects national figures, such as those whose deaths have been predicted has the potential to affect the stability of the entire nation,” he added, saying that all member churches would rally against the prophecy.

“We call upon our over 200 member churches to fast and pray to avert any such disaster.”

More than 70 percent of the population in the West African country identify as Christian, while fewer than 20 percent identify themselves as Muslims, according to the last census in 2010.

AFP

Church Will ‘Never Again’ Ignore Abuse Accusations – Pope

File photo of Pope Francis 

The Catholic Church will never again treat abuse allegations without “seriousness and promptness”, Pope Francis told the Church’s governing body on Friday.

“The Church will never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case,” the pope said in his annual address to the Roman Curia at the Vatican.

“Let it be clear that before these abominations the Church will spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice whosoever has committed such crimes,” the pope said.

“It is undeniable that some in the past, out of irresponsibility, disbelief, lack of training, inexperience, or spiritual and human short-sightedness, treated many cases without the seriousness and promptness that was due.

“That must never happen again. This is the choice and the decision of the whole Church.”

AFP