had, a large landlocked country in the heart of the Sahel region of Africa, is scarred by civil war and corruption. Jihadi activity has increased regionally in recent years and, in June 2019, the UN warned that the Sahel countries were entering a humanitarian crisis due to surging extremist violence, forced displacement, drought and famine.
The Christian population (around 35%) in this Muslim-majority nation faces increasing pressures from officials as well as violence from the Islamist group Boko Haram and militant Fulani herdsmen. Since 2009, Boko Haram has violently attacked Christian farming communities in the Lake Chad area. The region has become the epicentre of one of the world’s most complex humanitarian disasters.
Societal divisions over land in the south, where most Christians live, are worsening and leading to outbreaks of violence. Farms and churches have been destroyed and herds stolen or killed, causing many Christians to flee for their lives. In March 2019, violent conflicts erupted in the Tandjilé Region, with many deaths, villages torched and markets closed.
Constitutionally, Islam is prioritised and most government workers and military personnel are Muslim. Discrimination occurs in the context of diya (“blood money”) i.e. compensation for injury or damage under sharia (Islamic law). This is payable to the victim, their family or their community. Diya is unconstitutional in Chad, yet widely followed, unregulated, and open to abuse. According to sharia, non-Muslims are granted less compensation than Muslims for the same injury.
Christians also face persecution from followers of traditional African religions. Animists account for around one-fifth of the population. In 2018, a “Yondo” initiation year, hundreds of young Christian men and boys fled from their villages to avoid being abducted to undergo brutal, and sometimes fatal, initiation rites.
Pray that the persecution of Christians will end and Boko Haram’s plans to terrorise, kill and destroy will fail. Ask God to protect Christians from attacks and send His Holy Spirit to comfort the bereaved.