Persecution and Prayer Alert - August 31, 2017

PHILIPPINES: Hostages Escape Militant Captivity

A beach in the Philippines

After a full three months of fighting, the Armed Forces of the Philippines are now in control of all but a half-kilometre grid square of Marawi city. To date, the battle has claimed the lives of 573 militants, 128 soldiers and police, and at least 45 civilians. The progress has been slowed and complicated by the fact that the militants -- those who pledged allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State -- have planted numerous improvised explosive devices and retained civilian captives as human shields.

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KENYA: Al-Shabaab Terrorists Raid Coastal Villages

A village in Kenya
Al-Shabaab militants are embedded within the coastal communities of Lamu and Tana.
Photo credit: World Watch Monitor

On August 18th, three Christian men -- Changawa Muthemba, Joseph Kasena, and a 17-year-old neighbour named Kadenge Katana -- were beheaded after refusing to recite the Islamic prayer of faith. A fourth man, Charo (Joseph's mentally challenged older brother), was killed when the perpetrators of the crimes went to his home afterwards. One of the victim's wives was an unfortunate witness to the entire act of violence and is now "severely traumatized."

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CHINA: Imprisoned Church Worker Released!

cn zhang xiuhong vomusa
Zhang Xiuhong
VOM USA

On August 3rd, Zhang Xiuhong, who served as a volunteer deacon and church accountant, was released after being imprisoned for two years. Zhang's arrest was part of the government's broad crackdown on the Living Stone "Huoshi" Church in Guiyang. Chinese authorities have repeatedly targeted the church in recent years by freezing its assets, expelling church members from the property, and arresting one of the church's founders.

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