I received three urgent emails today from our friends in Malawi—Copeland Nkhata, Gabriel Msongale, and Dennis Singini-- asking us to pray for them in the political crisis and social unrest at hand in Mzuzu:
"…The country is plunging into real gloomy hours," writes Rev. Copeland Nkhata, pastor of the Mzuzu United Methodist Church circuit andWorldHope Corps leader in Malawi. "Yesterday the nation went through anarchy and bloodshed. Mzuzu lost 7people in a clash with police and 47 wounded badly. All the cities had some people dead. This has disturbed and disrupted our work."
"I hope you have heard in News accross the World what just took place on Wednesday July 20th 2011," adds Gabriel Wesley Msongole, Director, CitiHope Malawi. "On Wednesday there were supposed to be peaceful demonstrations where by Civil Society Organizations and other concerned parties wanted to petition the President concerning a number of issues facing our country.
Unfortunately, the Govt. through the police force tried to stop those demonstrations.The result were riots and vandalism, especially in Mzuzu where at least 9 people were shot dead. The death toll in Malawi has come to 18 as of today, but Mzuzu registered a higher number.
We have not reported to work since Wednesday because the tension is still being felt in Town. The tension seems higher today because the Malawi Defence Force says they would like to take revenge on the Police for shooting the son of one of the soldiers. We don't know what will happen this weekend. All shops in town have closed.
Let join our hearts in prayers for God's intervention.
All CitiHope staff are safe. I will update you on the developments later this day/tomorrow."
Our dear brother Dennis Singini, representing both CitiHope Malawi and Mzuzu Shalom Zone, continues to keep us informed: "We thank God who has kept us safe today. People are still very angry and unhappy to the government. At Mzuzu Central Hospital there was another crisis. Organizers had agreed to bury the victims at one particular place within Mzuzu because they are now popular heros. The President sent one of his cabinet ministers to deliver a message that the bodies of those who died during this demonstration should be buried at their respective homes.
When people heard this at the mortuary, they were angry and took one of the coffins and went straight in to where the authorities were having their discussions in protest. Then the cabinet minister and other authorities just left and told the Pastors with whom they were having discussions to go ahead with their original burial plans. For the first time in my life I saw a police officer with a gun in his hand running away and hiding out with patience."
PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FRIENDS IN MZUZU IN SUCH A TIME AS THIS!
Michael J. Christensen
Michael J. Christensen