HAFTAR CONTINUES TRIPOLI ASSAULT WHILE WORLD FOCUSES ON PANDEMIC

Libya

On 19 March, heavy shelling by military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces killed at least five civilians in Libya’s capital, Tripoli. Those killed were mostly women aged 14 to 20, while five others were injured in the latest attack in the ongoing war between the Eastern and Western governments in Libya. The United Nations condemned the attack that was carried out by the Libyan National Army under Haftar, the force behind the government on the Eastern side of the country. The Eastern government is supported by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, while the Western government has support from Turkey and other Western nations. On 17 March, many Western and Arab countries urged all parties to accept a ceasefire to focus efforts on curtailing the coronavirus pandemic. While Libya has not reported any coronavirus cases, the World Health Organization has warned the country is not prepared for an outbreak. All borders are currently closed to both Libyan nationals and foreigners. Previous diplomatic and political efforts at peace have been unsuccessful.

From a Christian perspective, there is no recognition of the Christian Church in Libya, and believers often keep their faith a secret, under threat of extreme persecution. When the war started in 2011, many Christians (predominantly expats) fled to safety, further depleting an already small group of believers. The country has been in almost constant turmoil since the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, so there has been little chance for Libyan believers to return home, or for the Church to receive much assistance from outside. However, according to Reuters, a small number of believers remain in Libya, including in Tripoli. The pressure for Libya to follow coronavirus protocols of social distancing and isolation will further isolate the small group of Christians, adding to their already difficult circumstances.

Pray with us for the following:

  • For a lasting ceasefire in Tripoli and surrounding communities
  • For the prevention of the coronavirus spreading to Libya’s vulnerable and war-ravaged nation
  • For believers to experience the Lord’s protection and to know Him deeply as the God of all hope

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Image: REUTERS/ Esam Omran Al-Fetori

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