Sri Lanka: Church hall set on fire

General September 25, 2008

National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL)

Incident Report

This is the second arson attack on a Church in the Puttlam District in recent time. The last attack was on the 17th of August 2008.

Church burned down

AOG Church

Pannaladi, Norachcholai, Puttlam District

On the 17th August 2008 (Sunday) the Church was set on fire during the night. The modest building was completely destroyed by the fire. A group of persons who visited the Pastors house earlier that evening and threatened him are suspected of having carried out the arson attack. A Police complaint has been made and 3 persons were arrested and later enlarged on bail.

Please uphold both Churches in prayer.

All Rights Reserved - NCEASL

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25/09/08

Church hall set on fire

Prayer Tower Church

Mailankulama, Puttlam District

On 23rd September 2008 (Tuesday) at about 8.00 a.m. a group of about 60 persons led by a Buddhist monk and a local politician arrived at the premises and set fire to the half constructed hall which served as the Sunday School. Members of the Church who live in the vicinity arrived at the scene and attempted to stop the arson attack were assaulted by the mobs. The attackers threatened children who had also gathered there but their parents took them away to safety. The Pastor informed the Wanathamulla Police and the Police dispatched 2 officers to the scene. However, they were not able to bring the large mob under control for some time but eventually succeeded in dispersing them.

Later in the day an entry was made in the Police station by the Pastor at which time the he was informed that they are unable to make any arrests since the attackers are not to be found in the village.

Around midnight the same day, some of the attackers returned and threatened the Christian families not to send their children to the village the school next day, or they will kill the children. A Church member who attempted to protect the building was also threatened with death. Fearing for the lives of the children, the parents did not send the children (about 20) to school the following day. The Church member who was threatened with death has also made a complaint to the Police.

On the night of 24th September 2008 (Wednesday), the same Church member was threatened by persons who visited his house.