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Violence against Christians on the rise in Africa

The escalating persecution of Christians in Africa threatens all Christians on the continent, including the Orthodox Christian communities in Nigeria, Kenya and elsewhere. Yet the international media continues to pay scant attention to this ongoing phenomenon. The Order once again calls upon the UN and international human rights organizations, as well as the governments of the nations listed in this article and others where Christians are persecuted, to take effective action to protect Christians and bring a definitive end to this persecution. Meanwhile, please continue to pray for the safety of the Christians in Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, and all over Africa.

“Violence against Christians on the rise in Africa,” by Christoph Strack, DW, June 13, 2019:

The African continent is seeing an increasing number of violent attacks on Christians. Church representatives are particularly at risk of being targeted ― as are imams.

“Africa is a continent where violence against Christians is exploding.” That’s how Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalainga described the situation in an interview with DW. The killing of Christians has increased in recent weeks in countries around Africa, he said. These attacks have targeted priests at the altar, religious representatives and also ordinary believers.

Most of the attacks were against Catholics. In Nigeria, an Evangelical pastor was kidnapped with his daughter and parishioners.

“We are experiencing an increase in violence, not only in Africa, but across the world in the context of global political instability. And in some countries the people of God become the target,” Nzapalainga said.

“These acts of violence can be messages, provocations. And we must be careful not to fall into that trap,” he added, warning not to respond to violence with violence.

In the Central African Republic, Nzapalainga’s home country, a 77-year-old Spanish nun who had been teaching girls in the country for decades was beheaded by unknown attackers. In Mozambique, a one missionary died after a knife attack.

But the most dangerous place on the continent for Christians at present is Burkina Faso in western Africa. In the north of the country, five people were killed in an attack on a Protestant church at the end of April, including the priest and two of his sons. In mid-May, attackers killed several worshipers at a Mass and a Marian procession. A priest died at the altar.

At the Christ King parish in the Pissy district of Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, people are worried.

“We are afraid, but with Christ we are making progress. We will always gather to pray,” said Father Etienne Kabore.

Many of his parishioners agreed with him after Mass.

“We hesitate to come to Church now. But as soon as I enter, I trust and pray to my God,” one woman said.

“We also pray for the conversion of these people,” another man said….

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