Mob Obliterates Army Village
From an IHQ News Release report
by Colonel Brian Taylor –
Mob violence recently hit the community of Shantinagar in Pakistan when a huge crowd of people swept through the village, destroying everything in its path. Shantinagar, a Christian village, was started by The Salvation Army more than 80 years ago and the majority of the inhabitants remain Salvationists.
The troubles began when a copy of the Koran was desecrated, allegedly by a Christian. Soon a crowd of Moslems gathered, swelling to more than 30,000, and vowing to take vengeance on the Christian community.
As the mob approached the village, the Christians were forced to flee for their lives. On entering the village, the rioters set out to destroy all Christian churches and institutions, and the homes and property of Christian people. It is estimated more than 1,500 homes (75 percent of the total village) were burned, many of them being completely destroyed. The village looked like a battle ground. All Salvation Army properties have been seriously damaged or destroyed. This includes three corps halls, two officers’ quarters, two schools, two dispensaries and a vehicle.
Fortunately, there was no loss of life and very little personal injury. Salvationists returned to find their possessions had been burned or looted, and most were left with only the clothes they were wearing. A wonderful spirit of sharing soon became evident in the community, however, as those who had some resources left freely shared with those who had nothing. A team from territorial headquarters, a six-hour journey away, reached the village as soon as possible and were the first people allowed through the military cordon. Tents and blankets were distributed, and the team is helping the people to obtain food supplies and other necessities.
The trouble also affected the neighboring village of Tibba and the city of Khanewal. A medical team is providing health care and medicines, and churches are working together to bring relief and assistance to the people. Once immediate needs are met, the people will need substantial help in rebuilding their homes.
A team from THQ is remaining in the village to organize relief activities, and cadets are being sent to bring a spiritual as well as a practical ministry. The Pakistan Territory has the personnel to deal with the emergency, but needs financial assistance.