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Nigeria's Christians flee ahead of election

An exodus of Christians from the mainly Muslim city of Kano, the commercial centre of northern Nigeria, is taking place because of fears of violence ahead of this weekend's elections.

Thousands are cramming onto coaches and heading to the east or south-west of the country. 'Kano is closing for business because of the fear of the unknown,' a spokesperson for the main bus station told the BBC.

Many potential voters had already migrated ahead of the original date for the elections on 14 February.

The city's Christians want to avoid a repeat of the violence that followed the 2011 voting when different religious and ethnic groups were attacked.

The largely Christian Igbo community that makes up the majority of the Kano suburb set aside for non-Muslims has already shrunk considerably in recent years because of Islamist insurgents.

Source: BBC

‘Token’ arrests frustrate Indian bishop

An Indian bishop has accused police of ‘tokenism’ after swiftly releasing on bail six suspects allegedly caught on camera vandalising a cathedral in central India on March 20.

“Such kind of tokenism from police [will] not help bring in confidence among beleaguered Christians,” said Bishop Gerald Almeida.

The men were released after only an hour following the incident in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. The cathedral had been accused by a nationalist group, Hindu Dharma Sena, of converting 200 people to Christianity, although the group denied it was responsible for the vandalism.

Meanwhile, four men have been arrested on suspicion of attacking a church in New Panvel, near Mumbai, on March 21.

These incidents follow the release of a report highlighting a dramatic increase in anti-Christian violence and harassment in the 300 days since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP came to power.

Sources: NDTV, UCA News, Times of India

Colombian priest dies after mugging

A Colombian priest has died of his injuries after being shot during a mugging on March 21 in the northern city of Sincelejo.

The funeral for Fernando Meza Luna, who led the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima church, was held yesterday (March 24) in the city’s cathedral.

“I am deeply saddened by his death, and I hope it can be a source of greater unity among priests,” said the Bishop-emeritus of Sincelejo, Orlando Corrales. “Now that we are close to Easter, I invite everyone to raise their voices, asking for respect for life.”

Colombia is No. 35 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, which ranks the countries where Christians are most under pressure for their faith. Organized crime is one of the major ways in which Christians put targeted in Colombia and Latin America in general, according to the List.

Source: Fides

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