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Published on 08 February, 2012

Protestors’ highway blockades bring ministry to a halt

Panama (MNN) — The protests of the indigenous tribe Gnöbe Buglé in the western part of Panamá have caused great problems for the Operation Mobilization team in the Province of Chiriquí.

Last week, a group of protesters blocked the only highway between Chiriquí and the country's capital, Panamá City.

The Gnöbe Buglé are upset with the government for approving hydropower and mining developments in the region. They have blocked the highway and so far have refused calls for dialogue, according to the Associated Press. Police have fired tear gas to restore the passage on the Pan-American Highway, but the situation remains unstable. One person has been killed, and 39 others have been injured.

The protests have caused disruption all around Panama and have affected ministry directly.

OMers who traveled this weekend from various parts of the world to Panamá for the Latin American finance forum had problems reaching the OM base in Volcán, Chiriquí. Participants in OM Panama's exposure program, Mission Extreme, had to be taken out of the zone for their safety. They were in the area to do ministry as part of the two-month program.

These teams can't spread the Gospel if they can't get to where they're going or if they have to be removed altogether.

To add to the list of threatening problems, the blockades have created a fuel shortage in Volcán–a problem for the OM team members. Shortages are also appearing in the grocery store on staple items such as meat. This situation could potentially become serious if the highway is not re-opened soon to allow deliveries to go through.

OM Panama appreciates your prayers for the Mission Extreme participants, the OMers in the finance forum, and the team members in Volcán. Pray that the conflict between the indigenous tribe and the government will be solved soon so that ministry can go forward as usual.

To learn more about OM's work to be the hands and feet of Christ in Panama, click here.

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