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Second Blast of Persecution Breaks Out Over Village Churches in Laos

Contact: Bill Bray, Christian Aid Mission, 434-227-0811, bill@christianaid.org

NAKOON, Laos, Jan. 6, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- For the second day in a row, armed police have arrested Christians who have been worshipping in the home of Pastor Wanna, falsely charging them with conducting secret meetings. Twenty Christians have been arrested on January 4 and 5.

The new round-up of innocent Christians in Nakoon, Hinboun District, comes in the wake of the renewed persecution and forced relocation of Christians in Katin, Ta-Oyl District which began at Christmas.

Southeast Asian Director Stephen Van Valkenburg of Christian Aid Mission has confirmation from reliable indigenous leaders that government officials renewed their persecution of Laotian Christians over the Christmas holidays. Local officials expelled 15 more believers (seven families) from their homes and destroyed rice fields in an attempt to starve Christians out of the Katin area.

Three days after forcing the families out, the village chief and other officials burned down the fences around the believers' rice paddies and farmlands. Dikes were destroyed and water drained from rice paddies. Officials trampled through the crops, destroying all seedlings to prevent a winter harvest.

Christian Aid has established an emergency hotline to collect relief for the newly homeless and hungry believers. Gifts and offerings for the Laotian victims are being received by phone at 800-977-5650, persecution gift code 730-CFL. Contributions may also be made online.

"We are still in need of emergency assistance for helping these believers settle into their new location," said a local Christian leader, "Funds to purchase materials for building temporary shelters as well purchasing food, clothing, medicine and household items are a priority."

According to the local Christian mission leader, at approximately 9 a.m. on Thursday, December 23, 2010, the Katin village chief along with other village officials rounded up the Christians and force-marched them from the village. They were accompanied by the village security force and non-Christian villagers who displayed guns and went into homes of the Katin believers, threatening them and demanding that they leave.

The officials forced them to walk to an intersection outside the village where they were told they would be prevented from ever returning to their homes if they do not recant of their Christian faith.

The expulsion of these seven Katin Christian families came after official warnings issued two months ago. At that time, the Katin chief and the head of the village religious affairs warned the Christians against continuing to exercise their religious freedom and holding to their Christian faith.

Being left without homes, these seven Christian families sought temporary shelter with 11 other families who were previously evicted at gunpoint last January (2010).

Both expulsions have been reported to the Ta-Oyl District Department of Religious Affairs, but so far there has been no response.

"Thank you for your continued prayers and support," the Christian leader says. "We are much in need of outside assistance at this time."

Christian Aid Mission, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, assists 796 indigenous missions which deploy over 80,000 native missionaries. Indigenous missions carry on in place like Laos where Americans are no longer allowed to go as missionaries. Christian Aid Mission was founded by Bob Finley in 1953 and now helps missions working in over 3000 people groups.

Call 1-800-977-5650 to donate. Please use gift code: 730-CFL

Christian Aid Mission

Email: info@christianaid.org  

Media Email: bill@christianaid.org

Stephen's email: steve@christianaid.org

Contact Stephen by phone: 434-977-5650