Monday, August 07, 2006

Evangelical Leaders Urge Prayers for Sri Lanka amid Conflict, Slayings

From the Chrisitan Post: Evangelical Leaders Urge Prayers for Sri Lanka amid Conflict, Slayings.

Please join me in praying for these brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. In full ...
As media outlets focus their attention on the fighting in the Middle East, the head the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has made an appeal urging the Christian community to keep the war-torn island nation of Sri Lanka in its prayers.

“Please pray for this country and for the Christians who risk their lives to reach and care for those caught in this civil conflict,” stated Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of the evangelical network of churches, in a released statement.

"While the world’s attention is fixed on the equally tragic events in the Mideast, little media coverage is given to the Sri Lankan civil war that is taking scores of innocent lives and displacing thousands of people in the island country.”

Relief agency officials reported Monday that Fifteen Tamil civilians working for the French aid agency Action Against Hunger were found slain in northeastern Sri Lanka after fierce battles between rebels and the government over water supplies.

According to the Associated Press, the aid workers — 11 men and four women — were doing post-tsunami relief work in the seaside town of Muttur, the scene of heavy battles that have brought the country to the edge of civil war.

In a report from the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), General Secretary Godfrey Yogarajah described the suffering of the people on the island nation – which he said the world is ignorant to.

”The war has started once more in Sri Lanka,” Yogarajah stated. “There is heavy fighting going on. Every day civilians are caught in the crossfire and are dying in great numbers. Thousands of civilians are displaced. Our [NCEASL] staff is working night and day to send supplies, relief aid and medicines to the war affected areas.

“Today is Saturday and we are all in office working to get 1,000 relief packs ready by evening to be sent to the east of Sri Lanka,” he added.

According to Yogarajah, two churches and several schools where people were taking refuge got caught in the shelling and were badly damaged, resulting in considerable loss to life and property.

“Hundreds are injured needing medical assistance but can't get out of the conflict zone,” the evangelical head reported. “An ambulance got caught in the crossfire and all in it perished. Aerial bombings of these areas too are taking place. The most affected are the women and children. Many are being conscripted forcibly to fight, including children.”

Yogarajah asked for believers to pray for the situation.

“Very little news is coming out of Sri Lanka,” he said.

Although Yogarajah noted that BBC had carried a few stories including Kofi Annan’s statement calling for a cessation to hostilities, the NCEASL head said, “Much of the news coverage is focused on the events in Lebanon and Israel while the Sri Lankan war is not getting much publicity.

“Consequently,” he added, “the world is ignorant to the suffering of the people here. We will do my best to keep you informed. Thanks for your prayers.”

In his appeal, Tunnicliffe asked for believers to remember the people of Sri Lanka and “lift up our brothers and sisters in prayer.”

“May there be a swift and peaceful end to the fighting and bloodshed.”