Suspected Islamists Shoot Five Christians to Death in Pakistan
Muslim extremist groups had threatened church for two years
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Ministries, July 29, 2010

SUKKUR, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Compass Direct News (CDN) is reporting that a dozen masked men shot five Christians to death as they came out of their church building in Sukkur, Pakistan, on Thursday, July 15, 2010, two months after a banned Islamic extremist group sent church leaders a threatening letter, relatives have said.

According to the CDN story, Pastor Aaron John and church members Rohail Bhatti, Salman John, Abid Gill and Shamin Mall of the Full Gospel Church were leaving the church building after meeting to discuss security in light of threats they had received, said the pastor's son, Shahid John.

"As we came out of the church, a group of a dozen armed gunmen came and opened fire at us," said Shahid John, who survived a bullet in his arm. Besides Shahid John, five others were wounded in the attack.

"In May church leaders received a letter from Islamic extremist group Sip-e-Sahaba (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba until it was banned) warning the Christians to leave the area, said Kiran Rohail, wife of the slain Rohail Bhatti," said the CDN story.

"Sip-e-Sahaba and Sunni Tehrik extremist groups are both linked with an area madrassa (Islamic school) whose students had been threatening the church since 2008, Christian sources said. The masked gunmen of July 15 had young physiques like those of students, Christian sources said, and their manner of attack indicated they were trained extremists.

"The madrassa students that have threatened the church since 2008 belong to the Sunni Tehrik extremist group, the sources said. Pastor John and Bhatti had reported the threats of the past two years to police, but officers at the local station did not take them seriously, relatives said."

CDN stated that Police had also declined to register a First Information Report (FIR) when church leaders reported the threatening letter of May."

"An independent government source confirmed the shooting deaths of the Christians, adding that local Islamist pressure had prevented media from reporting on it," the story concluded.

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