Blast Hits Catholic Church in Northern Tanzania

Reuters:

A suspected bomb blast struck a Catholic church in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha on Sunday, police said, wounding a number of people.

Sectarian tensions have been simmering in east Africa’s second biggest economy after two Christian leaders were killed in the predominantly Muslim islands of Zanzibar earlier this year and there have been attacks on Muslim leaders and mosques.

“Some kind of explosion went off at the church. It is believed to have been a bomb but we don’t know what type of bomb it was,” Tanzania police spokesperson Advera Senso said.

Senso could not confirm if anyone had been killed in the attack or how many had been wounded.

Tanzania’s foreign affairs minister Bernard Membe said in a message on Twitter he was “deeply shocked” by the explosion.

President Jakaya Kikwete has warned about rising religious tensions in several televised addresses.

 

Names of South Africans Killed in Kabul Suicide Bombing Released

They were apparently mistaken for Americans…

The names of the eight South Africans killed in a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, have been released by the department of international relations and co-operation.

Times Live reports:

“The Department has consulted with the families of the deceased and hereby releases their names with permission from their families,” said spokesman Nelson Kgwete in a statement on Wednesday.

The victims were:

– Christian Johannes Justus Pretorius, 30, from Pretoria, Gauteng

– Fraser Angus Carey, 31, from Johannesburg, Gauteng

– Brandon Quinn Booth, 47, from Balgowan, KwaZulu-Natal

– Johan Abraham van Huyssteen, 31, from Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

– Johan Frederick Bouchaud, 30, from Johannesburg, Gauteng

– Johannes Judenis Humphries, 65, from Centurion, Gauteng

– Steven Leong, 31, from Johannesburg, Gauteng

– Jenny Margaret Ayris, 46, from Scotland in the United Kingdom

The department was working with the private aviation company that employed the victims and Afghanistan authorities, and was rendering consular assistance to the families.

“This includes arrangements for the repatriation of the mortal remains of the deceased,” said Kgwete.

The government expressed its deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those killed and condemned the use of violence.

“The South African government believes in peaceful means to settle disputes and/or conflicts and we strongly condemn the use of violence, particularly violence targeted at innocent civilians.”

This is very distressing. Deep condolences go to their families and loved ones. May Almighty God give them the fortitude to bear the tragic loss…

 

Eight South Africans Confirmed Dead in Kabul Attack

SABC news:

Eight South Africans died in a suicide bomb attack which killed 12 in Kabul in Afghanistan this morning, the foreign ministry said.

“Our mission in Islamabad in Pakistan, which is also accredited in Afghanistan, has informed us that eight South Africans were among the dead in the explosion which occurred in Kabul early this morning,” foreign affairs spokesman Nelson Kgwete told AFP.

“They worked for a private aviation company,” he added.

The group were all believed to be men, Kgwete said.

“Our mission in Islamabad is working on the identity of the men and contacting their next of kin.”

Tuesday’s attack by a woman suicide bomber was the deadliest single attack claimed to avenge a US film that has sparked a week of bloody protests across the Muslim world.

More than 30 people have now been killed in the violent backlash over a YouTube trailer for the film “Innocence of Muslims”.

UPDATE:  The names of the South Africans killed in Kabul by a suicide bombing have been released here.

 

Nigerian Christians Warn of Religious War

Another Sudan?

(Reuters) – Northern Nigerian Christians said on Tuesday they feared that a spate of Christmas Day bombings by Islamist militants that killed over two dozen people could lead to a religious war in Africa’s most populous country.

The warning was made in a statement by the northern branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), an umbrella organization comprising various denominations including Catholics, Protestant and Pentecostal churches.

But a powerful Muslim traditional ruler, the Sultan of Sokoto Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar said after meeting the Nigerian president in Abuja on Tuesday that it was not a conflict between Muslims and Christians or between Islam and Christianity.

The Boko Haram Islamist sect, which aims to impose sharia Islamic law across Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the blasts, the second Christmas in a row it has caused carnage at Christian churches.

Saidu Dogo, secretary general for the CAN in Nigeria’s 19 northern provinces called on Muslim leaders to control their faithful, saying Christians will be forced to defend themselves against further attacks.

“We fear that the situation may degenerate to a religious war and Nigeria may not be able to survive one. Once again, ‘enough is enough!’,” Dogo said.

The attacks risk reviving tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the mostly Muslim north and the largely Christian south, which has claimed thousands of lives in the past decade.

Dogo said the CAN was calling on all Christians to continue respecting the law but to defend themselves when needed.

“We shall henceforth in the midst of these provocations and wanton destruction of innocent lives and property be compelled to make our own efforts and arrangements to protect the lives of innocent Christians and peace-loving citizens of this country,” Dogo said.

CHRISTIANS VS MUSLIMS

The most deadly attack killed at least 27 people in the St Theresa Catholic church in Madalla, a town on the edge of the capital Abuja, and devastated surrounding buildings and cars as faithful poured out of the church after Christmas mass…

More here.

Nigeria: Churches Bombed on Christmas Day

AFP:

Nigeria — Bomb attacks on churches during Christmas services and a suicide blast killed at least 35 people in Nigeria on Sunday amid spiralling violence claimed by Islamists.

A purported spokesman for Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a bombing of the church outside the Nigerian capital and other violence which stoked fear and anger in Africa’s most populous nation.

Authorities have been seemingly unable to stop the attacks despite heavy-handed military crackdowns and claims of arrests of Boko Haram members.

One attack on Sunday saw a suicide bomber seek to ram a military convoy in front of a secret police building in the northeastern city of Damaturu, killing the bomber and three security agents.

The church blast outside the capital Abuja killed at least 30 people and degenerated into chaos after the explosion, with angry youths starting fires and threatening to attack a nearby police station.

Police shot into the air to disperse them and closed a major highway. Emergency officials called for more ambulances as rescuers sought to evacuate the dead and wounded, and calm later returned to the area.

In a swift response, a Vatican spokesman condemned that attack as an act of “blind hatred” which sought “to arouse and feed even more hatred and confusion.”

Britain condemned the “cowardly” attacks, with Foreign Secretary William Hague offering “condolences to the bereaved and injured.”

France, Italy and Germany also slammed the blasts.

Other attacks included a bomb blast outside an evangelical church in the central city of Jos, that killed a policeman, according to a spokesman for the governor.

Another explosion targeted a church in the northeastern area of Gadaka on Christmas Eve, but no one was reported killed, while two other blasts hit the northeastern city of Damaturu on Christmas Day, including the suicide bombing.

Emergency officials initially said the blast outside Abuja happened in the church, but later said it occurred near it, with the impact felt inside the church, which was also damaged.

Holes could be seen in the wall of the St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla and the roof was badly damaged. What looked to be blood was splashed on the outside of the wall.

A number of cars were destroyed and badly damaged outside from what looked to be a powerful blast.

“What we counted, we church officials, was 30 that was dead here,” Francis Aniezue, a rector at the church, told AFP.

Father Christopher Barde told AFP that the explosion happened as the Christmas morning service was ending.

“As I reached the last entrance, some people met me for blessings and suddenly I heard a bomb blast. It was really terrible,” he said…

More on this terrible evil here.

‘Underwear Bomber’: Judge Me by the Quran

The Detroit Free Press reports:

The so-called underwear bombing suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, charged with trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas 2009, has a new request: Let me out of here.

In a court filing Thursday, Abdulmutallab asked a federal judge to release him from prison, claiming he’s being “unjustly detained” by the American government.

“(A)ll Muslims should only be ruled by the law of the Quran,” Abdulmutallab wrote.

In a separate, handwritten court filing, the Nigerian national also wrote that “excessive force” was used to restrain him Wednesday after he assaulted several officers from his cell “in defense of Muhammad.”

Abdulmutallab asked the court to order that no excessive force be used on him.

The requests are part of a growing list of complaints that Abdulmutallab has had with the justice system since he was arrested …

The case is set for trial Oct. 4.

Authorities have said that Abdulmutallab is an al-Qaida operative trained in Yemen for the suicide mission, which was foiled when a passenger subdued Abdulmutallab. He is facing numerous charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorism.

The ‘law of the Quran’… Terror and violence.

Yet Another Church Bombed In Iraq

Asia News reports on yet another heinous attack on Christians in Iraq earlier today:

A bomb exploded last night near the St Ephraim Syrian Orthodox Church in Kirkuk, which is just a few hundreds of metres from the Chaldean cathedral, in central part of the city. The device blew up at 1.30 am and there were no victims. The damages to the church were however huge (pictured).

Today’s incident is the latest in a string of attacks against Christians and their places of worship. On 2 August, a car bomb exploded in front of the Holy Family Syrian Catholic Church, wounding 15 people. The bomb had been placed inside a car, parked near the building.

On the same day, another bomb also placed in a car parked near a Presbyterian church was defused before it went off.

Islamic fundamentalists, who remain very active, as well as groups involved in local feuds, have targeted Iraqi Christians.

With a population of 900,000, Kirkuk is located in Iraq’s most important oil fields. For years, it has been embroiled in a political fight among various ethnic groups, most notably Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds. The latter would like to see Kirkuk’s region annexed to Kurdistan, whilst Arabs and Turkmen would like it to remain directly linked to Iraq’s central government.

Again, please, prayers for our severely persecuted brethren there.

 

Iraq: Car Bomb at Church Injures 15

In via Yahoo News:

Kirkuk, Iraq – Fifteen people were wounded on Tuesday by a car bomb targeting a Syrian Catholic church in Kirkuk in northern Iraq, a police officer and a priest said.

The bomb exploded at the Holy Family church in the north of Kirkuk at about 5:30 am (0230 GMT), wounding 15 people including church staff and people in neighbouring houses, the high-ranking officer in the Kirkuk police said.

The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that 30 homes in the area were damaged.

Imad Hanna, a priest, said it was the first time the church had been targeted.

“Women, children and men from this neighbourhood were wounded in the explosion,” he said, added that two of the wounded were in critical condition.

The wounded were taken to Kirkuk General and Azadi hospitals, he added.

An AFP correspondent said that the doors, windows and generators at the church were destroyed, as well as pews inside.

Some cars in the area were also destroyed, he said.

Several old women gathered to pray inside the church after the blast, while other people gathered outside.

Some residents searched for belongings among the rubble of houses.

Ethnically divided Kirkuk lies at the centre of a tract of territory which Kurdish leaders want to incorporate in their autonomous region in the north over the opposition of many of the province’s Arab and Turkmen residents and of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The number of Iraqi Christians has dwindled to about 400,000 from an estimated figure of between 800,000 and 1.2 million before the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

Most of them live in Baghdad, Kirkuk, the area surrounding the northern city of Mosul and parts of the autonomous Kurdistan region in the north of Iraq.

On October 31, 2010, militants stormed Our Lady of Salvation church in central Baghdad, leaving 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force personnel dead, in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda’s local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq.

It was the worst attack against Iraq’s Christian community since 2003, and countless members of the minority have since fled the country.

Please continue to travail in prayer for our persecuted brethren in Iraq. Conditions must simply be ghastly for the beleaguered Christian population in that place.

Look at these horrific photos here, and weep!

Al Qaeda Making ‘Belly Bombs’

According to US officials:

The latest design from al Qaeda’s top bomb maker is a “belly bomb” developed to beat airport security in Europe and the Middle East where full body scanners are not widely used, according to U.S. officials.

A bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security warned, “DHS has identified a potential threat from terrorists who may surgically implant explosives or explosive components in humans to conduct terrorist attacks.”

According to U.S. officials, the terrorist would detonate the bomb with a chemical-filled syringe.

“We do not think there would be enough to bring down a jetliner, but it is more likely the kind of bomb to be used in an assassination attempt,” said one person briefed on the warnings.

U.S. officials told ABC News the “belly bomb” is the invention of Ibrahim Asiri, a young Saudi native who packed explosives into the rectal cavity of his 23-year old brother Abdullah for a suicide missions targeting the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince bin Nayef.

That bomb exploded prematurely, the officials said, and the only casualty was Asiri’s brother…

That’s just awful!

There’s more here.

Cathedral Bombed in Nigeria

Sickening!

The cathedral in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri was heavily damaged in a June 7 bombing.

“St. Patrick’s Cathedral was seriously damaged, windows and doors [were] destroyed, the whole building was shaken to its foundations by the violence of the explosion,” said Bishop Oliver Doeme.

Local authorities said that the Islamist group Boko Haram was responsible for the attack on the cathedral as well as recent attacks on a church, a school, and police stations.

Founded in Maiduguri in 2002, Boko Haram (the words mean “Western or non-Islamic education is a sin”) seeks the imposition of sharia in Nigeria. Boko Haram’s late founder, Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, told the BBC in 2009 that

there are prominent Islamic preachers who have seen and understood that the present Western-style education is mixed with issues that run contrary to our beliefs in Islam. Like rain. We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain. Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it.

15% of the nation’s 146.5 million people are Catholic, according to Vatican statistics. An estimated 50% are Muslim, 25% are Protestant, and 10% retain indigenous beliefs. Maiduguri is heavily Muslim: the territory covered by the Diocese of Maiduguri is only 2% Catholic.

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