SYRIA CHILDREN “WILL SOON DIE BECAUSE OF AID DELIVERY OBSTACLES” (PODCAST 1’21”)

Please pray for the children in Syria who are facing a critical food shortage. Pray that ways will be found to get supplies to them

 

Children are so malnourished in Syria that they will soon be dying because of aid delivery problems, the UN said on Thursday.

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Al-Riad shelter, Aleppo, Syria, February 2015. File Photo: OCHA/Josephine Guerrero

Humanitarian aid coordinator co-chair Jan Egeland issued the warning amid ongoing obstacles getting overland food convoys into besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

This is despite agreements secured with government and opposition forces in the wartorn country to help more than one million people this month.

Here’s Dianne Penn.

The target of delivering aid to one million people in Syria in May is in peril; that’s the message from Jan Egeland, humanitarian aid coordinator, speaking at the UN in Geneva on Thursday.

Of the 18 areas besieged by the government and opposition forces in the wartorn country, Egeland said the situation is worst in Darayya, Moadamyia and Al-Waer.

“Even in areas where we had full approval from the government there has been infinite problems in reaching the places …Children are so malnourished in these place that they will be dying in these places if we are not able to reach them.

Also in Geneva, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said that the option of using airdrops to deliver supplies has still not been ruled out.

These would require the assent of the Syrian government, but “logic would say” that it would be granted, de Mistura said, as it had already agreed elsewhere in Syria.

He was referring to besieged Deir-ez Zour in the east, where 110,000 people have received 700 tonnes of aid – enough food for a month.

On the subject of the UN-led peace talks, the Syria Envoy said that he intended to discuss the “best option” on their resumption with the Security Council in New York later on Thursday.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’21”

NIGERIAN NURSE DESCRIBES SHELTERING 50 PEOPLE FLEEING BOKO HARAM (PODCAST: 2’23”)

A retired nurse from Nigeria has been describing how she gave shelter to 50 people who were fleeing the Boko Haram terrorist group.

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Aishatu Margima at the World Humanitarian Summit. Photo: UN/Fabrice Robinet

The fifty displaced people ended up staying for seven months and were fed and looked after by 59-year old Aishatu Margima in Adamawa state, in the north-east of the country.

Ms Margima told her story to Fabrice Robinet at the World Humanitarian Summit which took place in Turkey this week.

She explained what happened to the people who were fleeing Boko Haram.

Duration: 2’23”

Christian school in Aleppo hit by missile

By Antony Bushfield

One person is dead and two are seriously injured after a missile hit a Christian school in Aleppo, Syria.

The weapon fell on Terra Santa Middle School on Saturday evening whilst a number of people, including many elderly, were inside.

It’s thought people had come to the school to seek refuge from the bombing of forces loyal to President Al-Assad.

The school had been considered a safe place that would not be targeted because of its religious links.

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Classes were run by Franciscan monks who had opened up some classrooms as a make shift refuge centre.

The missile shot through the wall as people gathered in a hall.

School principal Br. Firas Lutfi said: “The explosion was extremely violent, and it was strongly felt.

“Apparently there is a no longer one place in Aleppo that is 100 percent safe.”

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Source: Premier Media

Sudanese Authorities to Charge Detained Pastor with Crimes That Could Carry Death Penalty

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Christian pastor could face the death penalty after his attorney told ICC that the government is planning to charge him with espionage and various crimes against the state.

Sudanese intelligence officials (NISS) arrested Taour on December 21, 2015 and held him incommunicado, blocking his access to family and legal counsel until this week. Taour serves as a reverend with the Sudan Church of Christ.

According to Taour’s attorney, Mohaned Mustafa, Taour still awaits official charges, but they could draw from sections 50, 51, 53, 55, and 64 of the Sudan Criminal Act of 1991. These include “undermining the constitutional system,” “waging war against the state,” “disclosure and obtaining information and official documents,” “provoking hatred against or amongst sects,” and espionage. Three of these crimes carry the possibility of the death penalty, if convicted.

“We believe there is no case,” Mustafa told ICC. “I think the case [will be sent] to the court this month,” he said.

Mustafa defended pastors Peter Yein Reith and Yat Michael, who faced similar death penalty charges during the summer of 2015, before global international pressure on Sudan compelled a judge to release them without further penalty on August 6. Mustafa also defended Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman sentenced to hang in 2014, charged with apostasy and adultery for marrying a Christian man and practicing the Christian faith. Sudanese authorities released Ibrahim on June 26, 2014.

The news broke on May 10 that the Sudanese Attorney General was taking over Taour’s custody, a move that signaled charges are forthcoming.

Sources tell ICC that Taour suffers from a stomach ulcer and that officials only recently afforded him one visit with family.

Crackdown on Christians

The custody transfer comes five months after Taour’s arrest, while Sudanese law requires that defendants be arraigned of charges within the first 45 days. Authorities detained Taour in the midst of a December crackdown on church leaders, which netted at least two other arrests.

On May 10, Sudan released Christian discipleship leader Telahoon “Telal” Nogossi Kassa Rata after holding him incommunicado since December 18. According to sources close to the case, Rata never faced charges and remained in solitary confinement for nearly five months, having been granted only two brief visits with family during that time.

Officials also detained Pastor Kuwa Shamal on December 18, releasing him three days later, but required him to report for questioning from 8:00 a.m. until midnight each day until January 16, 2016.

Sudan is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protects religious freedom and the right to a fair trial. Even Sudan’s 2005 constitution allows for freedom of worship. Therefore, Sudan’s recent actions towards Rev. Taour exist in contradiction to these documents that are supposed to form the law of the land.

Troy Augustine, Regional Manager for Africa, said, “Sudan continues to show itself as the enemy of religious freedom and one of the prime persecutors of the Church in Africa. The government’s actions towards Hassan Abduraheem Taour are deeply unjust, but demonstrate an unsurprising pattern that has continued for years. As Sudan continues to harass and unfairly detain church leaders, the state proves itself to stand for human rights and religious freedom under the law, but hypocritical and contradictory in practice.

However, as we have seen in the past with the cases of Meriam Ibrahim and Pastors Peter and Yat, Sudan often responds to international pressure. ICC calls on everyone concerned to voice your protest with the Sudanese Embassy in Washington and Ambassador Maowia Osman Khalid to call for Rev. Taour’s immediate release. The embassy can be reached at +1 202.338.8565.”

Source: International Christian Concern (ICC)

NIGERIA BOKO HARAM: ‘DRUGGED WOMAN TOLD TO BOMB MARKET’

A Nigerian woman has described being kidnapped and drugged by suspected Boko Haram jihadists who planned to use her as a suicide bomber at a market.

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Boko Haram has staged several attacks in Kano

Khadija Ibrahim, 30, told reporters she had been waiting for a bus to hospital in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri when she was seized by two men in a car who had offered her a lift.

While drugged, the mother of three was stripped and a suicide belt attached, she is quoted as saying.

She managed to flee her abductors.

Ms Ibrahim said after getting into the car, she fell unconscious when something was placed over her nose.

But she woke up, apparently without her captors realising, to hear one of them whispering to her that she was “going to do God’s work”.

The kidnappers told her she was being taken to the city of Kano to attack the Kantin Kwari textile market.

But when the car engine overheated, both kidnappers were distracted – one was examining the engine while the other went to look for water.

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Ms Ibrahim then managed to flee and a man in the Hotoro neighbourhood of Kano took her to the police.

She was also brought before the Kano state governor, Umar Ganduje, who told the media: “If this woman had not regained consciousness the story would have been different by now.”

The woman is now in “safe custody….undergoing post-traumatic rehabilitation,” Kano police spokesman Magaji Musa Majiya told the BBC’s Hausa service.

Police are trying to track down the vehicle in an attempt to find a second kidnapped girl, thought to be about 15 years old, he added.

The other woman in the car with her may also have been drugged, Ms Ibrahim suggested.

Boko Haram has staged numerous attacks using young women in the past year.

 

Source: BBC News