A church in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden was set on fire on 16th September by masked militants. This was the same day that the country’s Prime Minister Khaled Bahah returned to the city from exile in Saudi Arabia.
According to local residents, the entire contents of the church, located in the city’s central Crater neighbourhood, were burned. The day before the arson attack, the church was broken into and vandalised.
The church in Aden was mainly attended by expatriate workers and refugees and was one of the few remaining churches in the city. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but a security official suggested the militants may be Al-Qaeda fighters.
“The government has moved its base from Riyadh to Aden,” a government spokesman told reporters. The Prime Minister and several other ministers from his cabinet arrived in Aden on the same day as the church attack.
Government officials had been exiled to Saudi Arabia for months, after Shia Muslim Houthis gained control over vast areas of the country in March. Saudi-backed pro-government forces retook Aden in July.
Already the poorest country in the Middle East, 21 million people out of the total population of 26.7 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, and, according to the UN, an estimated 4,500 people have been killed in the fighting this year.
Less than 0.5 % of Yemen’s population is Christian, and while the few Yemeni Christians are converts from Islam, most of the Christians in the country are expatriate workers or Ethiopian refugees.
- Pray for Yemen as it struggles with the ongoing conflict. Pray for aid to reach those who desperately need it, and for all sides of the conflict to be willing to reach a peaceful solution and stop the fighting.
- Pray for the Church in Yemen. Pray for protection for Yemen’s few Christians, and for their witness and faith to be a light in the darkness of the war.
- Pray for the spread of the Gospel in Yemen, for many to encounter Jesus through dreams, visions and the witness of both Yemeni and expat Christians.
Malachi 1 vs 11: “My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets.”