Catching Our Eye

This is the place where we post news updates, quick takes, and links to items of interest around the web. Bookmark this page and visit regularly to see what's Catching Our Eye.

  • Seleka releases Bossangoa Catholics

    The Archbishop of Bossangoa and three priests were released within 24 hours of being kidnapped by Seleka rebels in the Northern town of the Central African Republic.

    "I spoke to him and he told me he is well", said the Archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonné Nzapalainga, adding that they are now near the city of Batangafo, on the border with Chad. The Archbishop explained that the Bishop of Bossangoa, Monsignor Nestor Désiré Nongo Aziagbia, told him that they were stopped at a checkpoint by Seleka rebels and taken to a rebel base where they met with some leaders of the movement.

    The group is being escorted by soldiers of the African MISCA mission to Bossangoa, the town in the violent northwest, where nearly 40,000 people – most of them Christians – have sought refuge since September.

    Sources: World Watch Monitor; MISNA

  • Killing in Kessab

    Further details have emerged of what’s been happening since the invasion of Kessab by Islamist rebels, which sent thousands of Syrians fleeing the predominantly Armenian Christian town.

    According to a WWM source 23-year-old Kevork Jourian was killed by members of Syrian rebel groups as they were searching for guns among the Armenians who remained after the attack.

    Jourian initially escaped the March 21 raid of Syria’s Northwestern city but, despite the obvious dangers, he decided to return to fetch his parents and grand-parents. He told his loved ones that he had to go back.

    Our source also said, "People are very, very depressed and Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, is terrible. The Armenian quarter is under attack and people cannot escape the 'pounding' as there are snipers wherever they turn."

    Sources: World Watch Monitor; ArmenPress

  • Boko Haram suspected in deadly attacks

    The militant Boko Haram sect is suspected in weekend attacks on villages in Nigeria's beleagured northeast that left scores dead. News reports said the attackers, armed with military rifles, shoulder-launched grenades and firebombs set fire to the villages of Ngoshe, Kaigamari and Anchaka, in Borno state. The attackers fired on residents as they tried to flee. News reports of the death toll approached 100.

    Borno state is a stronghold of Boko Haram, a five-year old insurgency that has killed thousands of Nigerians in its quest to drive out what it considers to be Western influence, and to impose an Islamic state. The weekend's attacks across Borno occurred in areas near the border with Cameroon, where concentrations of Christians continue to live and where deadly raids have been more frequent in recent months.

    Boko Haram also is suspected in Monday's huge bomb blast in a bus station on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital, Abuja, that killed at least 71 people.

    Sources: Vanguard; This Day; The Telegraph; The Star

  • Christians most persecuted religion globally

    The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron has committed his government to fighting persecution of Christians abroad.

    In his annual Easter reception for Christian leaders at 10, Downing St, Cameron acknowledged that "Christians are the most persecuted religion around the world." He encouraged his audience to be unashamed to "stand up against persecution of Christians and other faith groups wherever and whenever we can."

    Source: Bloomberg

  • Chinese church growth attacked by Communist Party

    Thousands of Chinese Christians have set up camp around Sanjiang church in Wenzhou, an eastern port city, to prevent it from being demolished by the government.

    Last week nearly 5,000 people from the area arrived to protect their church, since then at least 100 people per shift are guarding the church day and night.

    Friction has been increasing between China’s officially atheist Communist Party and its growing Christian population, especially since several churches have either been demolished or had their crosses removed under a government campaign to ‘curb the spread of Christianity,’ local residents and religious leaders said April 4.

    Officials began a campaign in February to demolish churches that violated local building regulations. Since then, at least six crosses have been taken down. This treatment is not new toward Chinese Christians, as Wenzhou's underground "house" churches have long been subjected to sporadic crackdowns.

    Several Christian leaders claim that the provincial Communist Party secretary objected to seeing many large and bright crosses during a recent trip so now, the newly constructed Sanjiang church, an ‘official’ church which took nearly six years to build and cost the congregation 30 million yuan (US $4.8 million) is under threat.

    Sources: Washington Post; Christian Aid; The Telegraph

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