Government Forces Attack Pastor In Sri Lanka, Christians Say

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (BosNewsLife) -- An evangelical pastor in eastern Sri Lankia was receiving treatment in hospital Tuesday, June 24, a day after he was attacked by militant government forces because of his Christian activities, local believers and investigators said.

Reverend Fernando from the Methodist Church in Ampara, a remote city 200 kilometers east of the capital Colombo, was apparently attacked in the area while returning home from a church group meeting in the suburb of Uhana. "He is currently receiving treatment for his injuries in hospital," said Britain based rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), a major umbrella group, said in published remarks that the pastor "sensed that the men were trying to lure him into a trap, and asked them to come to the church instead if they wished to discuss Christianity. The men then attacked him, and warned him not to return to the village."


The attackers are believed to be members of the Gramarakshaka Niladhari, or 'Home Guards', an auxiliary force established by the government to assist the police and military in security duties. The attack comes four months after a Home Guard in uniform shot dead Pastor Neil Edirisinghe, February 17, CSW said.

The gunman also shot the pastor’s wife, leaving her critically injured. The accused is in custody, and his court hearing reportedly resumed Tuesday, June 24.

CSW Advocacy Director Alexa Papadouris said his group is "deeply concerned over the continuing incidents of violence against Christians in Sri Lanka," and especially because Monday's violence "was reportedly carried out by members of a government-sponsored security force." He said that the CSW has urged the Sri Lankan Government to take action to
protect the Christian community, “and to ensure that the perpetrators of such violence are brought to justice."

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