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Photo: Flickr / Cesar Castro G

Five church leaders working in the northern coastal city of Barranquilla have received death threats from a neo-paramilitary group, reportedly due to their pastoral care for victims of human rights violations. On January 11th, the Black Eagles neo-paramilitary group printed and circulated a threatening note which included the warning, "We know where you live, and your organizations are also in our sights...we are coming for you."

A public statement issued by the leaders of various denominations noted that it is believed the pastors are being targeted because of their ministry work with victims of violence, as well as their involvements in peacemaking and reconciliation.

Church leaders have long been a target of armed groups on all sides of the internal conflict in Colombia which involves far-left guerrilla groups and far right neo-paramilitary groups. While guerrilla groups have tended to target church leaders because of an ideological opposition to religion, neo-paramilitary groups often view church leaders as opposing their aims because the Christian message often runs counter to their particular group's objectives.

First, let us thank the Lord for the various opportunities these church leaders have been given to provide ministry to victims of violence in northern Colombia. Pray that their vital mission projects will continue unhindered, despite the death threats that have been made against them. In fact, may God use this latest opposition against the church in Colombia to spur on His children to a greater level of obedience and devotion! As the church leaders now seek His leading on how to proceed with ministry in the midst of life-threatening danger, let's join them in praying for much-needed protection, wisdom and discernment. Finally, please lift up the members of this opposing neo-paramilitary group to our gracious Heavenly Father, asking Him to work mightily in their hearts through the convicting power of His Holy Spirit so that they may also come to a saving faith in Jesus.

To learn more about Colombia's persecuted church, please visit our country report.

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
50,355,650 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Mestizo and white (87.6), Afro-Colombian (including mulatto) (6.8), Amerindian (4.3)

Religion (%)
Christianity (92.3), other (1), unspecified (6.7)

Leader
President Ivan Duque Marquez (2018)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Civil law system influenced by the Spanish and French civil codes

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Colombia

Please uphold all those in Colombia who’ve been victimized through acts of violence, asking the Lord to meet their needs, heal them of their brokenness, and bring about renewed hope and restoration. Also intercede for their persecutors so that they, too, will witness the love of Christ and experience His forgiveness and salvation.

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