The Africa Review in Five (TARIF) highlights African current affairs from a Christian perspective. Nobody should take history more seriously than Christians because we are to remember the “wonderful works that He has done” (Ps. 78:4). But we must also apply the right worldview filter to historical accounts and news reports (shorter term histories). That filter is God’s Word. Scripture commends the sons of Issachar because they were able to discern the times (1Chr. 12:32).
Twice a week, TARIF will help the church, the family and the community see African affairs from a Christ-centered perspective. Listen and subscribe through Youtube, Apple podcasts, or Spotify.
Today is Friday, May 26, A.D. 2023. This is The African Review in Five, written by Paul Schlehlein and presented by Yamikani Katunga.
After seven years of captivity, Australian missionary Ken Elliot was released to his family this past week. The 88-year old husband and his wife Joyce have been medical missionaries in Burkina Faso since the 1970s. According to the BBC, they established a 120-bed clinic in the northern city of Djibo where he was the only surgeon in the area. For nearly five decades Elliot performed thousands of operations and offered free medical care to the community.
In 2016 they were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda militants. His wife was released three weeks later. She said at the time: “I’d like to be reunited with my husband so we can return to Djibo and continue our work there.”
Despite his wife’s pleas for her husband’s release and the work of the Australian government, Elliot remained in captivity for seven years. For decades, kidnapping for ransom has been a common tactic of various Muslim groups to raise money for their organizations.
The landlocked West African nation of Burkina Faso borders Mali to the north, Niger to the east and Ghana to the south. The main religion is Islam. Recently there have been hundreds of church closures as Christians flee to to avoid jihadist attacks. Open Doors, the non-denominational mission organization that supports persecuted Christians around the world, lists Burkina Faso as the 23rd most persecuted country in the world.
For years, Muslims and jihadists have targeted Christians for their faith, seeking to intimidate them from following Christ. Praise the Lord for Elliot’s release and pray that the believers there would have strength and boldness in their Christian walk.
Hebrews 11 reminds us that great Christians should expect great persecution. “Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword.”
Curfew in Lesotho
Last week, the small southern African country of Lesotho imposed an indefinite nationwide curfew after the murder of Ralikonelo Joki, a popular radio personality. Some believe the murder was an effort to silence Joki’s criticism of the government. Those traveling between 10pm and 4 am without a police permit face two years in prison.
The Lesotho government has made considerable efforts recently to curb gun ownership. Late in 2022, the police minister began revoking firearm licenses in the nation. They believed these steps would help lower Lesotho’s massive murder rate. Lesotho currently has the third-highest homicide rate in the world, behind only El Salvador and Jamaica.
This is despite Lesotho having a very low rate of gun-ownership at 4.8% (according to world population review), which is less than 5 guns per 100 people. This is a far lower rate than the United States, for example, which has a gun ownership rate of 120% (more than one gun per citizen) and also a far lower homicide rate. Gun ownership proponents believe that more legal guns means less murder.
In fact, there are two other African countries in the Top Ten rankings of worldwide homicide rates—South Africa and Nigeria—both with very low gun-ownership rates as well.
Let us remember that Jesus was a proponent of self-defense, telling his disciples in Luke 22:36, “Let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.”
More Bodies Found
The death toll linked to a Kenyan cult has surpassed 200 as of last week. Paul Mackenzie, pastor of Good News International Church and leader of the doomsday cult, is in custody and is believed to have coerced hundreds of people to starve themselves to death in order to meet Jesus.
Authorities have dug up hundreds of bodies on Mackenzie’s 800-acre property in Kilifi county on the Kenyan coast. Over 100 people are still reported missing, though some list the number as high as 600. Autopsies show that cause of death was strangulation, starvation and suffocation. Mackenzie, his wife and over a dozen others are due to stand trial at the end of this month.
Scripture warns of false teachers that profess to follow the truth but inwardly follow a lie. Jesus said: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt. 7:15).
Cooking World Record
And finally, on a lighter note, Nigerian chef Hilda Bassey recently cooked for 100 hours non-stop, setting the Guinness World record. The previous best time was nearly 88 hours by Indian chef Lata Tondon. Bassey cooked continuously from Thursday to Monday and used more than 55 recipes and 100 meals.
Bassey said she entered the competition to put Nigerian food on the map, stating that her country has the best cuisine in the world. Fans from all over Nigeria came to support the 25-year old in her endeavour.
Well done, Hilda. Proverbs 31:15, in speaking of the industrious woman, says, “She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens.”
And that’s it for The Africa Review in Five on this Friday, May 26 in the year of our Lord 2023. Subscribe to the Missionary Minds podcast on Spotify and Apple podcasts. I’m Yamikani Katunga. Be not weary in well doing.
Loved reading this
Great post! It’s important to see current affairs through a Christ-centered perspective. My question is, what steps can be taken to provide better protection for the Christians in Burkina Faso and other countries facing persecution?
Persecution is promised to Christians on earth. The best answer is the gospel. When the hearts of those in Burkina Faso change, then persecution will wane. More gospel preaching missionaries needed.
Thank you for sharing The African Review in Five. It is great to see Christian perspectives on African current affairs. I was particularly moved by the story of Ken Elliot’s release after seven years of captivity. It is sobering to realize that persecution of Christians is still happening around the world, but also encouraging to see how God can use our faithfulness in difficult circumstances. I have a question about Burkina Faso – what can we do to support persecuted Christians in that country?
JC, read Operation World, which will tell you specific ways to pray for the country. Prayer often leads to action.
Thanks very much for the news update,may God bless you and keep on updating us