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MALAYSIA: Establishment of Special Task Force

MALAYSIA: Establishment of Special Task Force

The Malaysian government has expressed that it will set up a special task force to investigate the cases of missing Pastor Raymond Koh and Perlis activist Amri Che Mat, a move that is welcomed by the Koh family.

On 23 May, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that a special task force would be formed to investigate the findings by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) which concluded that the special police were behind the disappearance of activist Amri and Pastor Raymond.

The family hopes that with the task force, truth and justice will prevail, and that the perpetrators can be brought to justice. They also hope the team tasked with investigating the cases would be independent, impartial, professional and credible.

“We want to see the victims released and be reunited with their families,” they said in a statement.

Amri, the co-founder of NGO Perlis Hope, went missing on 24 November 2016, after leaving his home in Kangar; Pastor Koh, was abducted in broad daylight allegedly by members of a trained paramilitary force on 13 February 2017, while on his way to a friend’s house.

Based on Suhakam’s investigation, direct and circumstantial evidence in both cases suggest that the two men were abducted by state agents, namely the Special Branch of Bukit Aman.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Pray that the investigation will be conducted in a fair, honest and just way, to bring unity to family members.
  • Pray that God will raise up bold servants in Malaysia to declare “You are the way, truth and the life” John 14:6.
  • Pray that the victims are strengthened and encouraged by the prayers being said for them and will hold onto God’s Word in their hearts – “He will never leave them or forsake them.”

Post your prayer for the investigation in the comments below.

NIGER: Missionary Abducted by Unknown Assailants

NIGER: Missionary Abducted by Unknown Assailants

Jeff Woodke, who works for Jeunesse en Mission Entraide et Developpement, a branch of the US based organisation Youth With A Mission (YWAM), was abducted from the town of Abalak in northern Niger by unknown assailants late in the evening of 14 October.

Bilou Mohamed, the mayor of Abalak, announced that the community has “suffered a terrible tragedy” and that locals “wept with sorrow, lamenting the loss of a friend” the day after his abduction. He then spoke of the 55-year-old missionary’s dedicated service: “This man has lived among us for years, even when it has been difficult to accompany vulnerable populations… Everyone knows his goodness.”

According to Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, a group of armed men — believed to be from a radical Islamic group called Mujao — burst into Jeff’s home at around 9pm after killing two security guards, including a member of the National Guard who was stationed there. The kidnappers took Jeff by force and drove towards eastern Mali, where Mujao has a stronghold.

Known in Abalak for his devotion to Niger and its nomadic populations, Jeff runs several development projects among the Tuareg people, focussing on farming, health, literacy, primary school education and access to drinking water.

Source: World Watch Monitor

Prayer Points

  • Please uphold Jeff in prayer as he faces this time of uncertainty in captivity. May he experience the assuring presence of our Lord. Pray he will soon be recovered.
  • Pray for Jeff’s concerned family, friends, colleagues and community members, may they be comforted and granted the peace that surpasses all understanding.
  • Pray for those grieving the loss of the two security guards. May the Lord walk closely with them during this time off suffering and loss.
SYRIA: Islamic State Abducts Dozens of Christians

SYRIA: Islamic State Abducts Dozens of Christians

Islamic State (IS) militants have captured dozens of Christian families after seizing a strategically located town in the central Syrian province of Homs on Friday 7 August.  At least 230 people were kidnapped or detained, including dozens of Christians, some of whom were taken from the Dar Alyan monastery in Qaryatain, the town captured overnight after intense fighting with the Syrian army.

Among those seized were 45 women and 19 children, including 11 families, some of whom were on a list of persons suspected by the militant group of “collaborating with the regime.”  The families of hundreds of Christian and Muslim residents of Qaryatain have lost contact with them since the militants captured the area.  He fears that IS may also target other Christian population centres in Hawwarin and Sadad.

Towns like Qaryatain are key to IS because they are along the Damascus-Homs Highway, a route used to ferry supplies and fighters.  The Syrian army has launched a large-scale counter offensive to recapture the city, which lies in a region where some of Syria’s largest gas fields are located, but so far has made no significance advances.

Last February, the hard-line jihadists abducted at least 250 Assyrian Christians, many of whom were women and children, during raids on villages in north-eastern Syria. The fate of many of these civilians is unclear, as is that of a number of other priests who have gone missing and are believed to be held by the militants, according to Christian groups.

Sources: International Christian Concern, BBC, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

Prayer Points

  • Pray to the Lord for the many who are being forcefully held by IS militants; ask the Lord to strengthen, protect and uphold them. Pray they will not despair but trust in Him.
  • Pray He will deliver them from their captors and reunite them with their loved ones.
  • Pray the suffering felt by so many may somehow be used by the Lord for good. Pray for members of Islamic State.

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