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Two men are dead and another remains missing following a raid by approximately 40 Muslim rebels on the predominately Christian village of Sitio Arco in Basilan province, southern Philippines on Good Friday (April 10). Cosme Aballes, Ernan Chavez and six children were kidnapped during the raid. Another man, Jacinto Clemente, was shot and killed by the rebels. The children were released later that day. Aballes was barbarically beheaded and his body was found two days later in the nearby town of Lamitan. According to a military spokesman, the rebels "will kill anybody they encounter and the intention they had was to disrupt the Christian activities during the Lenten season when they went to Sitio Arco." The spokesperson also stated that "their second motive was to extort from local leaders in the area," referring to Chavez, who at last report was still missing.

Pray for the family and friends grieving the death of those killed. Pray for the safe release of Chavez. Pray that authorities will be able to effectively stop the militant organizations operating in the country.

To learn more about the persecution of Christians in the Philippines, click here.

Country Information

Population
110,818,325 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Tagalog (24.4), Bisaya/Binisaya (11.4), Cebuano (9.9), Ilocano (8.8), Hiligaynon/Ilonggo (8.4), Bikol/Bicol (6.8), Waray (4), other (26.2)

Religion (%)
Christianity (85.6), Islam (6), Other (7.4)

Leader
President Rodrigo Duterte (2016)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil, common, Islamic, and customary law

Statistics provided by CIA World Factbook.

Pray for the Philippines

Pray for those in the various villages of Mindanao who have been victimized by rebel groups. May they not pursue any form of retaliation, acknowledging that vengeance belongs to God alone – the Righteous Judge. Instead, may these believers be granted His grace and strength to not only forgive the perpetrators but to also earnestly intercede for them. Let's join our Christian brothers and sisters by praying for a mighty outpouring of God's love and power to take place, compelling many more to seek repentance and salvation, for only then can His righteousness and justice truly prevail.

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