Mali (MNN) — Southern Baptist missionaries in West Africa are asking Christians around the world to pray for Mali after a military coup overthrew the government last week, reports the International Mission Board.
Wednesday night, soldiers stormed the capital city of Bamako and took over the palace of Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure. The coup leader gave an interview on state television, announcing an end to Toure's "incompetent" regime.
The coup sparked from a long history of conflict with the Touareg community. Violence has been exchanged between the Malian government and the Touaregs for decades.
The most recent uprising was reportedly driven by fighters returning from Libya. President Toure sent Malian soldiers to stop the conflict back in January, but it has yet to be resolved. In the meantime, a large number of soldiers have lost their lives. Toure had vowed to put an end to this Touareg uprising by the end of his term in April, reports Bloomberg.
Toure was a military leader of a coup that overtook the last Malian regime. He was scheduled to step down from office next month, and elections were to be held on April 29. Now it is unlikely that those elections will take place.
The coup has been condemned by the African Union, the European Union, the United States and others. Aid has been suspended from many nations, a problem for the poor nation.
Southern Baptist missionaries are asking for prayer that God would give world leaders wisdom and that He would provide a peaceful solution to this conflict. They ask for special prayers for protection for women and children in Mali, as they are often targets of violence and abuse during periods of unrest.
Most importantly, pray that God will use this situation to open opportunities for the Gospel to provide hope for Malians who do not know Christ. Mali is a mostly Muslim country, and less than one percent are evangelical believers.