Barnabas Briefs: Philippines & Nigeria.

August 6, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

PHILIPPINES – CHRISTIAN TOWN SEEKS EXCLUSION FROM SEMI-INDEPENDENT ISLAMIC REGION

PhilippinesWao, a predominantly Christian town on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, is protesting its inclusion in the new semi-independent Islamic region of Bangsamoro.

Wao’s mayor, Elvino Balicao, is seeking exemption from the Bangsamoro government and its Islamic law and has asked that the town remain under the central government. He said that the town is 83% Christian and that local churches support exemption from Bangsamoro.

Wao is in the centre of the Muslim-majority province of Lanao del Sur and is the only Christian-majority town in the province.

After a decades-long Islamic insurgency, on 27 March the government of the Philippinessigned a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to establish Bangsamoro.

NIGERIA – CHURCH BLAST KILLS FIVE IN KANO CITY

Nigerian ChristiansA deadly explosion took place on Sunday (27 July) as worshippers were leaving a church service in a predominantly Christian area of Kano city in Northern Nigeria.

The attacker hid himself at a primary school next to St Charles Church, in Sabon Gari district, and threw a bomb at the parishioners as they exited the building. Five people were killed, including a soldier who was guarding the church, and eight others were injured.

The blast was one of three separate violent incidents in Kano over the weekend. Police stopped a female suicide bomber from attacking a university, and also prevented an attempted bombing at a mosque. Five suspects were arrested in connection with this wave of attacks, which came as Eid, which marks the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, was being celebrated.

Although no organisation claimed responsibility for the violence, Boko Haram, which aims to create an Islamic state in Nigeria’s North, has a strong presence in the Kano area. Christians and the security forces are prime targets for the Islamist group, as are public places where it can cause maximum casualties.

NIGERIA – ORDEAL CONTINUES FOR FAMILIES OF KIDNAPPED GIRLS

nigeriaBoko Haram has continued to hold more than 200 girls, most of them Christians, who were kidnapped from a school in Chibok, Borno State in April

Since the abductions, eleven of the girls’ parents have died, some of them after heart attacks and stress-related illnesses. Boko Haram has been carrying out near-daily assaults on Chibok; an unconfirmed report stated that fathers of the kidnapped girls were amongst those killed in an attack earlier this month.

Others of the girls’ relatives have organised themselves into a grassroots protest group called The Abuja Family, named after Nigeria’s capital. As the group has attempted to maintain pressure on the seemingly inactive government, it has endured harassment and intimidation from police.

– barnabas team

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