Southeastern Bangladesh is home to numerous tribal groups and immigrants from neighboring countries. Violent clashes between these groups are causing problems for missionaries working in this area.
A Gospel for Asia leader in Bangladesh narrowly escaped with his life when he was caught up in a violent clash between two warring ethnic groups. The leader was picking his children up from school on February 24 when he was caught up in one of the riots. He was able to return home unharmed, but he is asking for prayer for the country.
The ethnic tensions reignited February 23, resulting in at least 15 deaths and dozens of homes being burned to the ground in Chittagong Hill Tracts in southeastern Bangladesh.
Thankfully, police are doing all they can to protect the missionaries working in the area of the most intense clashes.
News reports indicate that the rioters are angry and blaming their government for failing to implement a 1997 peace accord that divided the lands between the warring tribal groups. There are 12 major ethnic minority groups in this part of Bangladesh, which shares a border with Myanmar (Burma). The flow of Burmese refugees into Bangladesh has also caused problems in the area.
The tense situation prevents the missionaries from traveling freely to share the Gospel and meet with believers. It also makes it difficult for believers to travel to church for worship services. In some instances, government-imposed curfews force people to stay in their homes for extended periods, too.
Missionaries and believers who live in that area are also providing food and housing for those who lost their homes. They are committed to helping them rebuild once it is safe.
GFA–supported missionaries in that area shared the following prayer requests:
- Pray for peace in Bangladesh.
- Pray that God would protect the missionaries, students and staff at the Bible college and the Christians in the churches in the country.
- Pray that the government of Bangladesh would find a way to control the situation.
- Pray that those involved in the riots would find the peace of Jesus Christ.