Coup d’état in Mali
Please pray for Christians in this embattled nation!
|"...so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day." (Ezekiel 34:12)|
"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. ...
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever! " Psalm 23:1-6
Several extremist Islamic factions in Mali have "swept across the deserts of northern Mali in the aftermath of a coup in the country's capital." They have targeted Christians, their villages and their churches. Countless victims have been killed.
On April 6, 2012, an article titled "Mali rebels declare independence in north as fears grow over extremist links" reported that --
"...the rebel fighters, who last week took control of all the main towns in northern Mali, included people linked to the extremist Islamist faction Ansar Dine and al-Qaida's North African branch known as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM.
"A source who fled the rebel-held town of Gao said that extremists were heavily involved in the advance and were now targeting the Christian minority in northern towns. 'The rebels have sacked the church in Gao, burning the contents whilst crying 'Allah Akhbar.'... At a rebel barricade outside Gao, the bodies of people who have been slaughtered were laid out on the ground." (Updates below)
The following letter was written by a missionary at a medical station in northern Mali:
Friends and Family,
I am writing with a heavy heart. As many of you know, Mali underwent a coup d’état 10 days ago. It was largely bloodless, but the aftermath has sent the country swirling into downward spiral, as rebel factions in the north and Salafist militias have attacked and taken one northern regional capital, and two others are actively under attack.
ECOWAS, the West African economic block of which Mali was an active member, does not recognize the coup leader, as he deposed a democratically elected president and threw 20 years of constitutional rule under the bus. The country has been given 72 hours to restore democratic rule or face economic sanctions that would entail the sealing of its borders to neighboring countries and freezing the central bank.
This will devastate the country within a matter of days, as Mali is already in a famine year and has no functional reserves to speak of. The country is reeling. The 72 hours are up on Monday morning.
Even before the sanctions have hit, we are experiencing all day power outages here in Koutiala, and people are scrambling to withdraw cash from the banks. We are doing our best to stockpile diesel fuel to keep the hospital backup generator running, in the face of power cuts. Needless to say, without electricity, the hospital would be reduced to a first-aid station. We have a few thousand liters of reserve fuel, perhaps enough to go a week or so.
We have made the hard decision to partially evacuate the mission staff to neighboring Burkina Faso tomorrow (Sunday) morning. ... Pray for their safety and that they will not have trouble crossing the border. About 12 of us will stay and try to keep the hospital functioning. I suspect that severe challenges may lie ahead.
25,000 Muslims and Christians filled a soccer stadium in the capital today, in a joint prayer session, crying out to God collectively for peace. I am asking for your prayers as well.
Thank you for your steadfast love and friendships. We are humbled by your support of us. We feel very much in need of your prayers now.
Pray that God will somehow defuse this thing before there is widespread loss of life, and that through it, people will come face to face with the person of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
We love you dearly!
"Christians flee from Islamists in northern Mali" (April 4, 2012): "Mali's crisis deepened Wednesday, as officials in the fabled northern city of Timbuktu confirmed that the Islamic rebel faction that seized control of the town over the weekend has announced it will impose sharia law. 'He had the meeting to make his message to the people known, that sharia law is now going to be applied,' said the Mayor of Timbuktu Ousmane Halle.... You can't react,' he said, when asked what the reaction was of the imams of a historic town known for its religious pluralism and its moderate interpretation of Islam....
"'More than 90 percent of the city's roughly 300 Christians have fled since the city fell to the rebels on Sunday, said Baptist Pastor Nock Ag Info Yattara, who is now in Bamako. He said not one of the 205 people in his congregation, which has worshipped in Timbuktu since the 1950s, has stayed behind. 'We cannot live like that,' he said. 'Things are going to heat up here. Our women are not going to wear the veil just like that.' said the mayor.....
"The humanitarian organization Oxfam expressed concern that the embargo could impede humanitarian aid. The organization pointing out that 40 percent of the country's goods come from outside Mali. 'Some 3.5 million people are at risk as the country has been hit by one of the worst food crises in decades,' Eric Mamboue, Oxfam's country director in Mali, said in a statement. 'We are concerned that some of the sanctions imposed by neighboring countries and supported by the Security Council, if maintained for more than a few days, could serve to make an already desperate situation even worse.'"