A new wave of Christians have been driven from their homes in northern Mali by an upsurge in anti-Christian persecution from Islamic jihadists in the beleaguered West African nation.
One man, identified only as Moctar, said that recent Islamic terrorist threats against Christians had forced him to uproot his family and flee to the country’s capital of Bamako, along with many others.
“We lost our property and our houses have been inhabited by these extremists and our church was destroyed,” the man said.
According to another man, François, the current Islamic assault is “turning this country into a no-peace zone.”
Earlier this week, jihadists released a video of Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockly, who was kidnapped in Mali a month ago. The eight-minute video shows Stockly dressed in a black hijab, while a masked speaker reads off the charges against her.
“Beatrice Stockly is a Swiss nun who declared war against Islam in her attempt to Christianize Muslims,” the speaker said.
Ever since Islamist militants seized control of northern Mali in mid-2012, civil liberties and religious freedom have never returned to pre-2012 levels, according to the Christian aid group Open Doors. Soon after taking control, the Islamists imposed Sharia law on the northern city of Timbuktu as well as other areas of the north.
Mali gained international attention in August 2015 when Islamist gunmen stormed a hotel in the central town of Sevare and killed 13 people, showcasing the rise of radical Islam in the country.
Christians make up less than 3% of the population of this overwhelmingly Muslim nation.