NIGERIA: “Leah Sharibu must have been raped and forced to convert”

Article by Grace Attu.

A Nigerian cleric and spokesman of the Sharibu family has reacted to rumours that Leah Sharibu, the Christian schoolgirl held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to convert to Islam, had given birth to a baby boy fathered by a Boko Haram commander and had subsequently converted to Islam.

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Leah Sharibu is a 15-year-old Nigerian girl. She was abducted when Boko Haram stormed a boarding school in the town of Dapchi, Diocese of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria on 19th February 2018 kidnapping 110 school girls. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, speaking with Aid to the Church in Need, said these must be false claims or a situation of rape and forced conversion.

“How can a 17-year-old girl, abducted when she was 14, consent to bearing a child for her abductors? This can only be as a result of forced sex. I would not believe that Leah at that age would consent to become a mother. She wanted to go to university and she would be starting university now but she is still in captivity. If they forced her and raped her, we cannot say that she consented”, the evangelical pastor said.

Novosibirsk: “Sister, come back soon.”

Article written by Kira von Bock-Iwaniuk.

Religious sisters in Russia at the side of the marginalised during the Coronavirus crisis
Very few have fallen ill, but all who live in the million-strong West Siberian city of Novosibirsk are affected by the lockdown and its economic impact – particularly those, of course, who already were living on the fringes of society prior to the crisis: the poor, the unemployed, the elderly and children from lower-income families. These are the ones on whom the religious sisters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of the Transfiguration at Novosibirsk have now focused most of their attention. They talked with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need about the challenges they are facing during these times of the pandemic.

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The Congregation of Sisters of St. Elizabeth has been working in Russia for more than 25 years. During the period of the epidemic, they continue to distribute products and hygiene products to our needy wards, to support and co-ordinate them by phone and visit as often as possible.  Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

"Corruption and weakness are killing us" Bishop Matthew Kukah says of Nigeria

Article written by Petra Kolletzki.

Weak and corrupt government in Nigeria is to blame for conflict spiralling out of control, according to a leading bishop, who has called on the international community to help his country restore law and order.

Bishop Matthew Kukah of the diocese of Sokoto told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that the government in his country was failing to stem the violence there.

Mozambique: Carmelite sisters testify to the “barbarity” of the jihadists after three days of violence in Cabo Delgado

Article by Paulo Aido & Christophe Lafontaine.

At the end of May terrorist groups launched a merciless attack on the town of Macomia, in the province of Cabo Delgado, in northeast Mozambique, an area rich in oil and natural gas. The Theresian Carmelite Sisters of Saint Joseph have been present in Macomia for 16 years now and do important work in the field of education. Having fled earlier, they returned a few days after the attack and have now related what they saw. The international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International), which has supported the sisters in the past and which visited their community in 2015, has expressed its alarm and concern at what has happened.

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Sr. Blanca Nubia Zapata visiting the faithful in the diocese of Pemba, Mozambique.
Photographer: Monika Sinzig
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

Case postponed nearly 70 times

The lawyer fighting the conviction of a Christian man serving a life sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan says the appeal hearing has been postponed almost 70 times.
Nearly 11 years after advocate Khalil Tahir Sandhu submitted the first appeal petition in Lahore High Court challenging the conviction of Imran Masih, the lawyer said the case had passed through the hands of at least 10 justices.

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