Extremists kidnap Nigerian bishop’s wife
International | Attacks on Catholic and Protestant clergy are on the rise in the region
by Mindy Belz
Posted 3/12/20, 08:53 pm
NIGERIA: Gunmen abducted the wife of the Anglican bishop of Bari diocese in Kano State, the latest in a string of violent attacks by Islamic extremists on Catholic and Protestant clergy and lay members in the region. At an emergency strategy session in Florida, experts formed an alliance to advocate for and help the communities facing attacks.
IRAQ: An Iranian-backed militia group likely carried out an attack that killed two U.S. personnel and a British soldier on a military base north of Baghdad yesterday, according to the head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie. The attack took place on the 63rd birthday of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whom the U.S. military killed in a January attack. A series of counterattacks may thwart Pentagon plans to proceed with a drawdown of U.S. troops in the region.
The attack at Camp Taji comes just days after two U.S. Marine Corps Special Forces were killed during a combat operation against an Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold in northern Iraq. U.S. forces killed five ISIS militants in the fighting.
IRAN: Only days before a court hearing, authorities reportedly have released Iranian Christian activist Mary Fatemeh Mohammadi on bail from a prison in Qarchak, where she was beaten. Courts delayed her sentencing, still expected to take place, because the presiding judge fell ill with COVID-19. Read more about Mohammadi and Iran’s entrenched internal system of oppression in WORLD Magazine.
For the first time in 60 years, Iran has requested a multibillion-dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund to help fight COVID-19. The Islamic regime on Thursday reported 1,075 new cases of the coronavirus, but there’s good reason to believe the numbers could be much higher.
UNITED STATES: U.S. stocks plunged to their overall worst day since 1987 on Thursday after President Donald Trump in a televised address Wednesday night announced new restrictions to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. Confusion reigned over Trump’s halt to “all travel” from Europe (actual order here), while the State Department advised U.S. citizens to reconsider all travel abroad. As COVID-19 cancellations mount, top medical experts warn that U.S. testing has lagged behind what’s necessary to isolate and avoid rapid spread. South Korea has managed to slow the growth of new cases through intensive testing—while Italy, Iran, and the United States are still reporting large numbers of new cases every day.
ITALY: Add to Italy’s more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths the president of the Lombardy College of Physicians, Roberto Stella, who was 67.
- Il Pappagallo, Rome’s most reliable 24/7 coffee bar, is closed for coffee but open for the sale of cigarettes.
- In Italy, and in Texas, Catholic clergy are calling for Eucharistic processions, also used against the bubonic plague. Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, tweeted, “I call on every Catholic priest to lead a simple Eucharistic Procession around your Church sometime before the Feast of St Joseph, March 19, for repentance, Christ’s healing hand on the Coronavirus & that all men may be Godly, manly sons & disciples of His Son Jesus Christ.”
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Healthcare workers discharged the last patient treated for Ebola in Congo, marking an end to an epidemic that killed more than 2,000 people since it began in 2018.
I’M READING Disturbance: Surviving Charlie Hebdo by Philippe Lançon.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.