Christian school attacked in Pakistan
At least three masked men burst into Murree Christian School in Pakistan this morning, killing two security guards, a cook, a carpenter, a receptionist, and another person. Miraculously, none of the 146 missionary children attending the school were harmed, Reuters reports. The children had just returned to classes after a morning recess when the gunmen, armed with AK-47 rifles, began shooting the school guards. "The assailants fired indiscriminately into a largely deserted boarding hostel, after ignoring elementary and secondary school buildings where children from six to 18 were in class," Reuters says.
One missionary from the Philippines was injured in the attack.
CNN says as many as five attackers were spotted, and the Associated Press puts the number at four.
"This is a disaster for the foreign missionary community," school director Russell Morton told the news agency. "They wanted to hit at the missionary community. What better way than to hit at their kids?"
All three attackers reportedly escaped unharmed, but their motivation remains a mystery. Did they intend not to harm the children? Some parents are blaming militant Muslims, but if the attackers were religiously motivated, they failed—of the dead, only two were Christians. Morton told Reuters that he thinks it was a terrorist attack in the literal sense—it was intended more to scare than to harm. "It is my opinion that this attack was designed to cause trouble for the Pakistan authorities," Morton said.
An unnamed police officer told the Associated Press a note was found near a guard post where the shooting began, expressing "resentment against the actions of a world power."
World Vision hostages freed
A Sudanese militia group has freed three World Vision aid workers taken hostage in a raid last week. "I'm just happy to be back and to be rescued and I thank God I am alive," said Andrew Omwenga, a Kenyan. "I will definitely go back to help people who are suffering in southern Sudan. Nobody will assist them if we back out because of fear." German aid worker Steffen Horstmeier was freed August 1, while Omwenga and German Ekke Forberg were released Saturday.
"Generally, [my abductors] were very friendly people who seemed to have been forced to do something by their commanders, who needed some recognition," Horstmeier recalled. "They never mistreated me and even delivered a letter I had written to tell the outside world that I was alive."
The raid, by Simon Gatwich's unpredictable South Sudanese Liberation Movement, left one World Vision worker, 46-year-old Charles Kibbe of Kenya, dead. World Vision has suspended all projects in the area.
World Vision President Dean Hirsch has issued a statement in which he said the former hostages "appear to be in good condition, despite living on milk for the past five days. … This is truly an answer to the prayers of many people around the world over the last several days." However, the only World Vision press release available online is from World Vision Germany. Here's an almost readable machine translation.
Pentecostal pastor murdered in Colombia
Abel Ruiz was killed in his church in southern Colombia yesterday, says the Christians for Peace Foundation. The BBC reports that another clergyman was similarly shot dead two weeks ago, and attacks on pastors seem to be on the rise. Isaias Duarte, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Cali, was murdered in March. The leftist guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is reportedly responsible for Ruiz's death.
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