Updates on the persecuted Church
Barnabas Fund, 23 May 2023 (excerpts)
- An Australian missionary doctor who has been held by al Qaeda-linked militants in Burkina Faso since January 2016 was released on 19 May. Dr Ken Elliott, 88 years old, is reported to be in good health, and has been reunited with his wife, Jocelyn – Mrs Elliott was abducted at the same time but released after three weeks. They ran a 120-bed clinic in the town of Djibo.
- An estimated 130 people have been killed in a series of attacks launched by Fulani Muslim extremists on Christian-majority areas of Plateau State, Nigeria, in the past week. Around 1,000 buildings in 22 villages have been burned down in Plateau since 15 May, leaving thousands displaced.
- Two Christian boys have been charged with “blasphemy” in the Lahore area of Punjab, Pakistan. On 18 May one of the boys, Adil, 17 years old, was chewing some gum that has the brand name “Muhammad Ali”. His friend Saiman, 12, made a joke about the gum, which was overheard by a Muslim man who accused the boys of making jokes about Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. The Muslim man beat Saiman and threatened to kill the boys, before calling the police. Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws stipulate death for defiling the name of Muhammad.