April 11, 2012
A Christian leader has been beheaded and others are being threatened with similar treatment as Islamist militants run amok in Mali, West Africa, ASSIST News Service reports. Christians have fled the northern town of Timbuktu -- where sharia (Islamic law) has already been imposed -- amid reports that churches in Gao, 200 miles to the east, have been completely destroyed. A recent military coup in the country has left electricity supplies cut off, further delaying reports of the latest upheavals as well as pleas for help. Timothee Yattara, a British Bible college graduate who returned to Mali to share the gospel, recently fled Timbuktu with his family to Bamako, 400 miles southwest, where they are now living as refugees. "We have escaped in the wake of horrible death threats as the Islamists have a list of all the Christians in Timbuktu whom they intend to execute by beheading," he said. "As proof of their intentions, one leader has already been killed in this way and some churches in Gao have been demolished. Most Christians have already fled for safety, but sharia law has been imposed all over the north." Al Qaeda fighters and associated rebels are said to be claiming the northern part of the country as their homeland.