World Vision Workers Killed

Two World Vision International workers were killed after a drive-by shooting outside the ministry’s field office in Lima, Peru, on May 17. Norman Tattersall, 45, acting director of World Vision’s Peruvian work, died immediately following the shooting. José Chuquin, 45, director of World Vision’s Colombia field office, was critically injured and died 11 days later in a Virginia hospital.

A World Vision spokesman, David Over, said the identity of the gunmen—who sprayed Tattersall, Chuquin, and another worker (who escaped serious injury) with bullets—remained a mystery at press time. Some published reports indicated members of the Shining Path terrorist group may have been responsible. World Vision president Robert Seiple said the loss of Tattersall and Chuquin “was devastating,” but he added that the ministry’s work won’t be intimidated. “The work has to transcend the assassin’s bullets,” he said. “The work will go on.”

Riots Kill Hundreds

Renewed violence in northern Nigeria has killed more than 200 Muslims and Christians. Some fear the death toll could reach 500. Officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria said nearly 100 Christians, including one church official, were among those killed in late April in the state capital of Bauchi, and about 24 churches and vicarages were burned by Shiite Muslim extremists.

Followers of Yahaya (translated “Chosen of God”), a 36-year-old Muslim leader, declared a holy war in northern Nigeria after Yahaya was arrested by the Christian governor. Thousands of Christians have been trying to flee the Muslim-dominated north to southern Nigeria, where more Christians live.

The confrontations in and around Bauchi apparently began after Muslims in one small town objected to Christians using a local slaughterhouse to kill pigs and dogs, an act the Muslims said offended their beliefs.

Missionaries Leave

American missionaries packed their bags and left Ethiopia last month at the urging of U.S. officials, who cited the danger created by the country’s uncertain future. Many had already left the country when Ethiopian President Mengistu Haile Mariam fled to Zimbabwe, fleeing rebel troops who encircled and later invaded the capital of Addis Ababa. But a source at the American embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, reported several hundred Americans, most of them missionaries, remain in the city.

At press time, Baptist Press reported six Southern Baptist missionaries were trapped in the capital. Other denominations such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) had also recalled missionaries, a decision made harder due to the impending famine and other crucial needs created by the strife. Most missionaries said they struggled to decide what was best for their families and the future of their witness in Ethiopia. Many were seeking assignments in surrounding countries in hopes of one day returning.

Catholics Seek Power

Some Poles have expressed uneasiness over recent efforts by Polish Catholic bishops to end the country’s separation of church and state. In late April, a statement from Poland’s bishops said “the formula on separation of the Catholic Church from the state should be excluded” from the nation’s constitution. Critics of the bishops’ statement say it is a virtual call for the establishment of Roman Catholicism as Poland’s state religion.

Among other matters, the church would like to keep a tight grip on legislation having to do with abortion, which is sought by about 600,000 Polish women yearly. Though 97 percent of Poland’s 38 million people are Catholic, the country’s sentiments are sharply divided over the issue.

The church-influenced Polish Senate has passed a bill that would help reverse a liberal abortion law by imposing a prison term of up to two years on anyone performing abortions, unless the mother’s life is threatened, or in the case of rape or incest.

In another move that is seen to be church inspired, the government ended birth-control subsidies, a move that will triple the price of birth-control pills.

Recent polls paint different pictures of the extent of influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland’s political and everyday life. One poll taken in mid-May showed that the church is viewed as the country’s most powerful national institution. But another April poll indicated that public trust in the church had dropped from 78 percent in December to 69 percent in April.

War Picks Pockets Of Poor

Countries already classified as the poorest in the world have been made even poorer because of the recent Persian Gulf War, says a new report issued by the United Nations.

While many of the “least developed countries” already were reeling from the effects of unemployment, high debt, and declining export prices, things now have gone from bad to worse, the UN report states.

The Gulf crisis led to deep cuts in aid and tourism from developed nations, and cuts in private remittances from relatives working in the Gulf, a report in the Christian Science Monitor said. Among the hardest hit is nearby Bangladesh, which lost remittances and export earnings, and incurred the cost of repatriating thousands of workers returning from the Gulf. Many Yemenis also have been expelled from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

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