Nearly 100 Christians were killed by Muslim terrorists this month in the West African country of Mali.
According to the BBC, Fulani Muslims attacked a village composed of mainly Christians in Sobame Da, burning houses and killing at least 95 men, women, and children. As of earlier this month, the search for bodies was still ongoing with 19 people from the village still missing.
“About 50 heavily armed men arrived on motorbikes and pickups,” Amadou Togo, a survivor of the attack, told the AFP agency. “They first surrounded the village and then attacked — anyone who tried to escape was killed. No one was spared — women, children, elderly people.”
The BBC estimates that the attack on the village killed about a third of its inhabitants.
The Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors believes that every one of those people killed were Christians. Another source at the village said, “A Dogon village has been virtually wiped out.”
The attack came after years of tension between the Dogon people who live in central Mali, and the Fulani, who are semi-nomadic herders and largely militant Muslim. In three years, the number of attacks has grown by four times, causing the International Crisis Group to urge the government to initiate discussions for peace.
Open Doors reports that less than 1 percent of Christians live in West Africa, and those Christians are often targeted by predominantly Muslim terrorist groups. The nonprofit commended these believers, “Although the realities of violence like these attacks can be overwhelming, we have repeatedly seen how the Lord sovereignly uses the Body of Christ to bring hope and remind Christians on the front lines that they are not forgotten. These Christ followers are risking their lives to follow Jesus.”
Open Doors also released a guide for those who wish to support these African Christians in prayer.
- Ask God to pour out His Spirit of love, order and calm over these communities. Pray for safety and protection in the days ahead.
- Ask God to intervene in this violence and bring the persecutors to justice. These attacks have gone on for too long.
- As we see the magnitude of these attacks and previous ones, pray that God would end this movement.
- Pray that God’s grace and mercy would be at work in this tragedy.
- Pray with Christians and church leaders in the Sahel as God works through them to bring His comfort and strength.
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine. She blogs at mikaelamathews.com.