Mali ranks as the 32nd hardest country in the world for Christians to live in. This has become even truer in recent months. There have been numerous reports of churches being attacked and Christian’s harassed for their faith. According to multiple sources, people have raided churches, stripped them of the adornments and burned them in front of the buildings. They have also interrupted services and forces all Christians to leave under threat of death. It is believed that these are Muslim Jihadists from the North of Mali. We pray for the safety of our Christian brothers and sisters there.
2017-10-10 Mali (SightMagazine) Catholics in Mali have suffered a fresh wave of attacks at the hands of gunmen believed to be jihadists, amid a “dramatic” deterioration in security in the centre of the country.
Several churches were attacked last month, according to the news agency AFP. In Dobara, 800 kilometres north of the capital, Bamako, armed men forced open the church door, removed the crucifix, a statue of Mary and altar cloths, and burned them all in the front of the church.
Other attacks took place in front of worshippers. In Bodwal, also in central Mali, Catholics were chased out of the church by gunmen, who reportedly told them: “We will kill you if we see you still praying in the church.”
Rev Edmond Dembélé, secretary of the Catholic bishops’ conference of Mali, confirmed the reports and warned that attacks against Catholics had been taking place for several months. He added: “Security has deteriorated dramatically in recent months in central Mali, where Islamic armed groups are rampant.”
Mali’s bishops voiced concern that no security measures have yet been put in place to protect the churches that have been attacked.
Last month a Human Rights Watch report found that armed Islamist groups had carried out “summary executions of civilians and soldiers of the Malian army, the destruction of schools and the forced recruitment of child soldiers”. Meanwhile the report accused Malian soldiers of carrying out a raft of serious human rights abuses against people who supported armed Islamist groups.