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Pakistan: Terrorists attack Christian colony: one Christian killed

05 September 2016

A Christian security guard was killed after an attack on a Christian colony near the city of Peshawar on Friday 2 September.

Four suicide bombers carrying automatic weapons were waiting at the gate to the colony, which is locked every night. When security guard, Samuel Masih (55), went to open it at around 5.30am they shot and killed him. Two other guards were injured in the crossfire between police and the attackers.

The Church of Pakistan's Diocese of Peshawar released a statement, calling Masih a 'brave man - indeed a hero and a martyr, who saved many lives'.

"I personally visited the area and the army have cordoned off it and search is going on," parliamentarian Fredrick Azeem Ghauri told news agency World Watch Monitor on Friday. "The terrorists had water and food with them, which shows that they had planned a massacre on a large scale, but God has been kind to save the community. One suicide bomber entered an under-construction house and blew himself up. Luckily there was no-one there, so everyone remained safe."

An Islamist group linked to the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the Christian colony, saying it was a response to recent Army claims that it has pushed back terrorist violence. Unconfirmed reports said the group had intended to attack Army 'targets', but ended up moving to the Christian Colony instead. Meanwhile, residents have been advised to remain in their homes.

"We will remain united"

Yunis Riaz, the leader of a church inside the colony, told Fides: "People are afraid; we are mourning Samuel's death. About 30 Christian families live in the colony ... They are simple people, most of them work as cleaners in public offices. They are people with a strong faith: we will overcome this.

"The Taliban indiscriminately hit civilian and military targets, schools and families: they want to destroy peace and have visibility, threatening institutions. We will remain united in protecting social and religious peace. As Christians, we will do our part, praying and working peacefully, building peace in our daily lives every day."

On Easter Sunday this year, suicide bombers from the same group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, attacked a park in Lahore as Christian families celebrated after church services. At least 74 died, including 29 children: the group said it had 'targeted Christians celebrating Easter'.

This attack also comes just three weeks before the third anniversary (on 22 September) of an attack by twin suicide bombers on All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar, in which at least 96 died, including many children. The two bombers attacked as families were leaving the church service and Sunday school.

The latest attack may also have been a reaction to the recent Pakistan Supreme Court decision to reject the appeals of 16 people sentenced to death for terrorism, two of whom are believed to have been involved in the bombing of the Army Public School where at 141 people were killed in December 2014.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber has killed at least 12 people and injured more than 50 in an attack on a court in Mardan, almost 40miles east of Peshawar. A BBC reporter in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the local province, said that the same Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility. It said that the Pakistani courts, derived from the British colonial legal system, are 'un-Islamic'.

Source: World Watch Monitor; Fides; BBC

Please pray:

  • For the family and friends of Samuel Masih, that they would be comforted at this time
  • Thank the Lord that the bombers were unable to cause as much damage as they had intended
  • For protection for the Christian minority in Pakistan against further terrorist attacks
  • That the Pakistani government would act wisely in response to attacks by the Taliban.

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Find out more about persecution in Pakistan.