Peace agreement may be in jeopardy in Sri Lanka

By January 17, 2006

Sri Lanka (MNN) — Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse (mah-HIHN-dah RAHJ-pahk-see) has vowed tough measures to prevent further attacks that undermine a ceasefire with Tamil Tiger separatists. Attacks on troops have increased since the beginning of December, raising fears that a 2002 truce will fail and the island will slip back into civil war. At least 115 people have been killed in the past month alone despite the truce.

The violence is also taking its toll on ministry, says Gospel For Asia’s KP Yohannan. GFA has more than 250 churches and two Bible schools in Sri Lanka. GFA had a large tsunami recovery effort in eastern Sri Lanka, controlled by the Liberation Tamil Tigers, or LTT. “A lot of our workers from the eastern province had to be moved. They were told, ‘if you want to be safe you better leave this place because it’s not safe.’ And, it’s very sad because we had significant church growth. Hundreds and hundreds of people have come to Christ in the eastern province since our tsunami work began.”

According to Yohannan, GFA wasn’t expecting this violence to escalate again. “This has become an unexpected setback for some of the major plans we have been developing to deploy missionaries in the eastern province in the next few months, but our people are praying and fasting — hoping that some how they can get people back into those areas.”

Yohannan says because President Rajapakse has support from hard-line Buddhists and Communists, he doesn’t expect any resolution. “They are the people who wanted to pass the anti conversion bill, so that no one can be converted from Buddhism to Christianity.”

Yohannan is urging Christians around the world to pray that the violence will end so Christians can work in these areas hit hard by the violence.

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