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A church being burned in Tanzania.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

Another church in Tanzania's extreme northwest corner was burned to the ground on May 2nd in a suspected arson attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the fire that destroyed the church in Nyarwele, located within the Kagera region which borders Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. According to Kagera Regional Police Commander Augustine Ollomi, it is the third church in four months to be burned down.

The police commander added that seven suspects are currently helping police with investigations following the burning of other churches in the region last year -- six within a one-week period during September 2015. At the time of the 2015 attacks, the secretary of the local Bukoba Pastors' Fellowship testified that there had been many arson attacks in the area: "Since 2013, we have had over 13 churches torched here in Kagera, and no one has been held accountable."

Fortunatus Bijura, the leader of the church that was burned on May 2nd of this year, says the resulting damages will not stop the congregation from meeting. "Those who think that destroying our church means we won't pray; they are wrong.... We have a big tree near the church and will continue meeting there for prayers."

Local police have asked the community to work together in an effort to resolve the case of the most recent incident. Bishop Almachius Vincent Rweyongeza appealed for calm, requesting that locals co-operate with the police in order to locate those responsible and, therefore, put an end to the destructiveness and dangers posed by the fires. To review a report on last year's arson attacks, click here.

Pray that the Lord will minister His perfect peace to the congregations of the attacked churches after the tremendous destruction and upheaval they've recently experienced, restoring to them all that the enemy has sought to destroy. And may the Lord not only minister to the suffering Christians of these communities but also to the instigators of the fires, by convicting them of their grievous sin and need for salvation. In addition, may there be a great outpouring of God's Spirit throughout Tanzania -- blessing the efforts of His faithful people as they endeavor to shine His light brightly so those faltering in the darkness will clearly discover "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6).