Livestock To Save Armenia Christians Wartorn Nagorno-Karabakh
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
YEREVAN/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Aid workers help provide livestock to Armenian Christians who struggle to maintain a Christian presence in wartorn Nagorno-Karabakh, the mainly Armenian enclave within Muslim-majority Azerbaijan, Worthy News learned.
“Imagine a village with a population of 109. The village school has just three pupils. Azerbaijan’s armed forces have seized more than 100 hectares of the village’s pastureland,” said Barnabas Aid, a Christian charity working in the region. “The remaining pastures are too dangerous to use because the Azerbaijani military is so close,” Barnabas Aid told Worthy News.
The group added that the “beleaguered village is in the Martuni region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and its brave inhabitants are Armenian Christians. Barnabas-funded pigs and sheep are boosting Taghavard’s traditional farming industry.”
Footage obtained by Worthy News showed Armenian Christians working between the pigs and sheep in the volatile area.
Britain-based Barnabas Aid said it is raising funds to “do more for our persecuted Armenian brothers and sisters” in Nagorno Karabakh.
Conflict first broke out in the region in the late 1980s when both sides were under Soviet Union rule. Armenia forces captured swathes of territory near Nagorno-Karabakh – long recognized internationally as Azerbaijan’s territory, but with a large Armenian population.
Azerbaijan regained those territories in 2020 fighting, ahead of a Russian-brokered truce. “During a brief war in September-October 2020, Azerbaijan took territory from the Armenian Christian population and retook more in August 2022,” noted Barnabas Aid.
Despite an official truce, the charity added that, in reality, “Civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh are repeatedly threatened and sometimes attacked. On November 18, a farmer on his tractor in another Martuni village was shot at by Azerbaijani forces. Thankfully, he was not hurt, but his tractor was damaged,” recalled Barnabas Aid.
The group added that the area of Nagorno-Karabakh “is famous for its honey, and bee-keeping is a way for our persecuted Armenian brothers and sisters to support themselves.”
However, with fighting still erupting and lands lost, “Christian villagers need new ways to support themselves since their world changed so radically two years ago. Livelihoods can be matched to their situations. Where there is safe access to pasture, we can give sheep. Where land is less, we can give pigs. Beehives are even more compact.”
Aid workers told Worthy News that despite the hardships, Armenian believers “are determined to stay in the land that Armenian Christians inhabited for many centuries and which is full of historic Christian places of worship.”
Barnabas Aid said it was working to “encourage their faith” and to “strengthen the Christian presence.”
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