Date: November 1, 2017
“Our churches and chapels are now being targeted by extremists, who’ve told Christians not to gather to pray,” reports a church leader in Mali.
In September and October, extremists ransacked and burned several churches in Mali’s central Mopti region. The congregation in one church were driven out of the building and told they would be killed if they were “seen praying.”
In 2012, Tuareg separatists and Islamist groups linked to Al Qaeda seized control of northern Mali and declared the region an Islamic state. The new regime imposed sharia law in Timbuktu, including punishments such as amputations for theft.
In 2013, France deployed soldiers to Mali to assist the government when Islamist fighters began advancing towards the capital, Bamako. A UN force of over 13,000 military personnel is now stationed in the country.
Violence continues despite the government agreeing a peace deal with rebel groups in 2015. In the first half of 2017, more than 42,000 civilians joined many others already internally displaced in Mali.
Call out to the Lord on behalf of believers in Mali, who are enduring increasing attacks from Islamists. Pray that the Lord will be their strength and shield (Psalm 28:7) and that the government and the UN will take decisive steps to protect the Christian community in central Mali.