Two suicide bombers struck a historic church in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Sunday, killing 81 people attending Mass. It was one of the deadliest attacks on Christians in Pakistan’s history.
The bomb blasts left a scene of devastation. Around 600 people were inside the church at the time. Police say 12 kg of explosives were used in the attacks, carried out while worshippers were leaving Mass. 145 people were wounded in the attack. Among the dead and injured were women and children.
It is the latest in a series of attacks on Pakistani Christians, who represent about 1.6 percent of the country’s largely Muslim population. They tend to keep a low profile, and while attacks on Christian areas occur sporadically, Sunday’s bombings were among the deadliest in recent history.
The tragedy has sparked nationwide protests.
More than 500 gathered today in front of the Punjab Assembly, where they raised slogans against […]
Syria vigil and fast
By Michelle Hough, communications officer with Caritas Internationalis
The first time I ever heard of Damascus was in the story of the conversion of Saint Paul. It’s a story that speaks of the possibility of change and forgiveness; where dark hearts are flooded with light and those who persecute can go on to do good.
I was in St Peter’s Square on Saturday night along with around 100,000 people, leaders of other faiths, prelates, Caritas colleagues (thanks to Alfonso for saving me a seat!), Italian politicians and of course Pope Francis to pray for such a change of heart regarding Syria.
As dusk descended over Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said, “God’s world is a world where everyone feels responsible for the other, for the good of the other. This evening, in reflection, fasting and prayer, each of us deep down should ask ourselves: Is this really the […]
In March 2013, school abruptly came to an end for thousands of children when Seleka rebels seized power. Armed troops ransacked government buildings, hospitals and schools. Teachers fled to the capital; pupils and their families hid in the fields.
In co-operation with Unicef, Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands) has set up a 6-month program to re-open schools. Apart from organising transport for the teachers we will also make sure salaries are paid again. New books and materials provided by Unicef will be distributed and parents will be encouraged to send their children back to school.
Cordaid’s Piet van Gils is in Bangui to arrange the transport of the teachers. “It took quite some effort to get everyone registered on time, to provide them with money for the trip and to get them on to a truck. It will take some of the teachers a week to reach their villages. Once they get there […]
By Clotaire Mbao Ben-Seb, Communications Officer Caritas Central Africa Residents of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, have been living through days of a deafening concert of gunfire: Kalashnikovs are the tenors, submachine guns are the sopranos and the mortars and rockets are the bass. People stayed awake hiding under the Mango trees until three in the morning to avoid being hit. There have been several deaths and homes have been ransacked. At a community hospital in Bangui, they have 14 patients with gunshot wounds. Six needed surgery. One of them, the son of former President Kolingba, received a bullet that went through his chest and will need specialist care. At the another clinic, the Friendship Hospital, five patients were transferred to trauma care. Over 200 people filled the hallways and hide beneath the Mango trees in the grounds in search of safety. Bodies are being found in homes. […]
Fr Aurélio Gazzera is the local diocesan Caritas director in Bouar in Northern Central African Republic. Rebel Seleka forces seized power in CAR in March, plunging the country into anarchy. The United Nations said last week the country was on the brink of collapse and the crisis was threatening to spread beyond its borders. Caritas Internationalis has launched an international appeal for over €700,000 to support its work for peace and reconciliation, help people meet their immediate needs and re-establish their livelihoods as well as offer basic health services in nine dioceses.Fr Gazzera’s eye-witness accounts have spoken of villages being abandoned as people flee the violence. By Fr Aurélio Gazzera There are makeshift road blocks around Bohong, manned by Seleka fighters. The armed men charge you 1000 CAR francs to enter or leave the town if you’re on a bike, while its 200 CAR francs if you’re on foot. If […]
Caritas Egypt Director Fr. Nabil Gabriel sj called on European Union to bare in mind the impact of aid cuts on the poor as they discussed stopping or reducing their support to Egypt. He said the EU should increase its funding so the Egypt could be constructed on a sound basis.
At least 900 people, including 100 soldiers and police, have been killed in a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in the past week, making it Egypt’s bloodiest civil episode in decades.
Underlining unease in the West over how to respond to the crisis in Egypt, EU Foreign Ministers meet in Brussels yesterday to talk about changes in the 5 billion euro ($6.7 billion) aid package that goes to mostly civil society groups in the country.
An EU communique after the meeting said, “In order to avoid a negative impact on the most vulnerable groups of Egyptian society, assistance in the socioeconomic sector and support […]