EU declares ISIS actions genocide
(WNS)–The European Parliament on Feb. 4 passed a resolution declaring Islamic State violence against Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities genocide and punishable under the 1948 convention on genocide. By show of hands in the 751-member parliament, the elected representatives of the 28-nation EU became the largest international body to subject to unified condemnation and legal punishment the two-year reign of terror by Islamic State (ISIS or Daesh). In strikingly forceful and detailed language, the resolution condemns the terrorist organization’s “deliberate targeting” of religious groups. It cites ISIS driving more than 150,000 Christians from Nineveh Plains on the night of Aug. 6, 2014, and it calls attention to the ISIS kidnapping of more than 200 Assyrian Christians from Syria’s Khabur River region in February 2015. The resolution also highlights the killing of an estimated 5,000 Yazidis in Iraq, and the enslavement and trafficking of at least 2,000 Yazidi women—all by ISIS.
Former Soviet republics are Central Asia’s persecution hotspot
(WNS)–Worsening persecution in the Middle East and Africa commanded headlines in 2015, but Christians in many other countries also saw a deterioration of religious freedom or increased hostility last year. In the cluster of former Soviet states including Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, Christians faced more scrutiny from authorities and greater community persecution. Open Doors International listed all but one of those countries, Kyrgystan, on its 2016 World Watch List of the 50 places where it is most difficult to be a Christian. Government paranoia about religious groups is the engine of persecution in the region, said Wade Kusack, director for the religious freedom department of Mission Eurasia.
Somali authorities confirm suicide bomber blew hole in plane
(WNS)–A suicide bomber set off the explosion that tore a hole in an airliner flying out of Somalia on Feb. 2, according to local authorities investigating the case. The blast blew a 3-foot hole in the fuselage of the Daallo Airlines passenger plane minutes after it took off from Somalia’s Mogadishu airport with more than 70 passengers. Though the investigation continues, Somalian Transport Minister Ali Jama Jangali confirmed a bomb caused the explosion. “The bomb aimed to kill all on board,” Jangali said. “Al-Shabaab was behind it.” Al-Shabaab has not taken responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic extremist group has terrorized Somalia in recent years. The group was responsible for a restaurant-hotel attack that left 20 dead and 17 injured in January.
Boko Haram kills dozens in attack on refugee camp in northeastern Nigeria
(WNS)–Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up in a refugee camp in Dikwa, Nigeria on Feb. 9, killing at least 56 people. The camp is northeast of Maiduguri, Boko Haram’s birthplace. In the aftermath of the explosions, officials arrested a third female bomber, who gave information about other planned attacks, an official with the Borno State Emergency Management Agency told reporters. Health and rescue officials said more than 70 people who survived the attack are receiving medical treatment for their injuries. Lack of or poor cell phone service delayed news of the attack until the following day. The camp served as home to some 50,000 people displaced by the six-year insurgency that has left 2.5 million people homeless and parts of the country in ruins.