5Feb20-Sahel-Original ENGLISH

Dear prayer partners,

On Sunday 2 February, the French Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly, said that they would deploy 600 more soldiers in the fight against Islamist militants in Africa’s Sahel, south of the Sahara. France already has 4,500 soldiers stationed in the region. Their aim is to strengthen the forces in response to a spike in violent attacks by a variety of militant jihadist groups.

The Sahel Region includes Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger and Nigeria. In recent months, there has been a dramatic rise in violence in the region, increasing insecurity among locals, resulting in a growing number of protests in countries like Mali and Niger, where some are demanding the withdrawal of French troops. There are concerns that approaches to the region’s chronic socio-economic challenges remain more militaristic than developmental, and that more troops will not solve these fundamental problems.

About 327 million people live in the Sahel region, where Islam is the dominant religion and Christianity is in the minority. This region is often termed the “fault line” between the Muslim north and the Christian south of the African continent, and many people groups are considered ‘unreached’ with the Gospel. One of the largest of these ‘unreached’ groups is the Fulani – many of whom have been involved in these violent attacks.  In recent months many pastors have had to close their churches under waves of attacks and threats. Christians have faced death, kidnapping and displacement at the hands of these extremist groups with little redress from their governments.

Please join with us in praying for the Sahel Region.

“Do not work so hard for Christ that you have no strength to pray, for prayer requires strength.”  (Hudson Taylor)