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Worthy Christian News - Daily Christian News Service

Posted in: Christian Persecution, Christian Persecution - Asia, Laos
By Worthy News Asia Service
VIENTIANE, LAOS (Worthy News)– Scores of terrified villagers faced starvation in the jungles of Laos on Saturday February 26, after they were driven from their village at gunpoint for refusing to give up Christianity in this predominantly Buddhist nation, residents and rights activists said.

Laotian authorities reportedly destroyed crops to prevent food from reaching the group of over 60 impoverished Christians in a rugged terrain of Saravan province. One man from the group has already died during this time, said Britain-based advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

"The wells are drying up as they are going into the dry season, and their food supplies are exhausted after villagers thwarted their attempts to plant new crops," warned Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF), another group investigating the situation. “The authorities have successfully gotten them into a situation where they feel defeated.”

Eighteen families are now living in a temporary camp outside Katin village of Ta-Oyl district in Laos' Saravan province since they were marched from their village at gunpoint in two separate  incidents in 2010, rights activists said.

FARMING DIFFICULTIES

"Village officials are refusing to allow the Christians to enter the village to farm their land. An area that had been farmed around the camp has been destroyed," CSW added.

"Village officials have instructed families in surrounding villages not to help or provide food for the group, who lack access to adequate food, water and sanitation facilities, and medical treatment. It is reported that the villagers believe these tactics are an attempt to starve them in order that they give up their Christian faith."

Initially, 11 families were driven from the village at gunpoint during a worship service in January 2010, before a further seven families of new Christian converts were driven out in December last year, CSW explained. "Despite international advocacy on the case, the dire situation has not improved."

Last year Ta-Oyl District Head, identified as Bounma, spoke to the Christians encouraging them to to renounce their Christian beliefs, CSW said.

LAO CONSTITUTION

Bounma reportedly said that while the Lao Constitution provided protection for freedom of religion and belief, he did not allow Christianity in his district. He allegedly threatened the group with expulsion from the district if they refused to renounce their faith.

There was no immediate comment from local officials, but a team of news agencies Worthy News/BosNewsLife established earlier in Laos that Christians face persecution from authorities, with reports of raids and torture.

Theravada Buddhism is the dominant religion in Laos and Christians say religious minorities can face harassment. (With additional reporting by Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos)

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  • Tiffany M Ramsey

    Heavenly Father, I am disgusted at what our global society has become. Have we become so self-centered, so preoccupied with ourselves and own needs and desires in this country where we are still free to worship you without threat of torment and starvation. These christian families from the jungles of Laos were forced from their homes , and their neighbors are not een being allowed to give them any kind of relief without retaliation from the government. Why are we not hearing about this in the news? Why has America become so shallow, so clod-hearted, that all we hear about is Charlie Sheen, but no one seems to care that innocent families are literally being starved to death and tormented all because they refuse to stop loving you? Whoa to this superficial world we live in today.

  • Lynda Carter

    Thank you, Father God that You are with them in this situation. Please strengthen them in their faith and cause them to be strong for Your sake. Also, please deliver them from this trial according to Your will. Please comfort them and help them to feel Your presence. In Jesus's name, Amen.

    Please all brothers and sisters in Christ who are on fb, post this to your page. Urge others to pray for these people, who are wonderful witnesses for Jesus and His Kingdom. I can't help but think of Stephen when he was being persecuted for his preaching to the Jews about Jesus. After he told them that they were responsible for Jesus's death, the Jewish leaders were furious. When he cried out that he saw Jesus standing beside God at His right hand, they stoned him. Acts. 7:51-57. Bless these people, Father God.

  • TUi

    Father God please save my people…they love you…

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