At least 4 Christian men in Venezuela were attacked and had crosses etched into their skin by a group of 8 hooded men who are suspected to be part of a drug gang, The Christian Post reports.
According to Open Doors, the gang of men are suspected to have attacked the Christians because they have encouraged large numbers of people to stop using drugs.
According to the pastor of the victims, the home where the victims were living – which was set up by the church – had recently received multiple threats.
"Before the attack, two men at a neighbourhood meeting said they were going to end the Restoration House because they did not agree with this type of program," the pastor told Premier Christian News.
After being threatened, the pastor filed a report with the police.
The house, however, was attacked along with the people inside of it. The gang reportedly destroyed the house and they etched crosses onto the torsos of the Christians.
One of the victims told Open Doors that "The criminals covered our faces and started to beat and stab us."
Of the four men who were attacked, three were discharged from the hospital, but one suffered lung injuries, broken ribs and a head injury and is still being treated. The other three are currently in arm or leg casts, or both. All 4 Christians were marked with a cross.
The Evangelical Council of Venezuela is calling for an immediate investigation, Premier Christian News reports.
The violence took place at a Christian restoration program that aims to help drug users overcome their addiction.
According to Open Doors, the attack is "unusual" because "Venezuela isn’t in the World Watch List Top 50, which highlights how unusual this kind of attack against Christians is in the country – though Christian persecution in other parts of Latin America is increasing."
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John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.