It has been reported that Christians in rebel-held areas of Colombia are at present on high alert as guerrilla violence intensifies as they are target for Marxist guerrilla groups such as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
This development is contained in a report by the Release International (www.releaseinternational.org) a United Kingdom (UK) based registered charity adding that instability has been growing in the Meta region, a traditional guerrilla stronghold and scene of several recent attacks, including shootings and even a bomb attack in the town of Puerto Lleras on May 12.
It noted that earlier, on May 2, FARC guerrillas raided a Christian house in the Arauca region and shot and killed a 14-year-old girl, Mayerli Niño Blanco. When her pastor Gualberto Nieves rushed to help the family, he too was shot dead.
In a report by Release partners, Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) Canada it said that FARC has also been conducting an 'internal purge' of those in its ranks whom it suspects of being Christian adding that the guerrillas have reportedly killed many of their own men and accused them of being traitors to the communist cause.
It stated: “In all our in Colombia, we have never seen it this unstable. Yet we believe that this is also the most opportune time that we have ever seen for the Gospel.”
Release noted that Christian activity is restricted or banned in many parts of Colombia held by left-wing rebels stressing that the religious rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide said it has received reports of this happening in 12 of Colombia's 32 departments.
“The standing of pastors as community leaders makes them a perceived threat to the authority of the guerrilla groups; church leaders have also been targeted for their efforts to dissuade young people from enlisting with the rebels. Guerrilla leaders have also stated that Christianity is incompatible with their own ideologies,” it stated.