Suspicious eyes turn to Dagestan following Boston attacks

By May 3, 2013

Dagestan (MNN) — Attacks in Dagestan are making global headlines after the Boston Marathon bombing.

Earlier this week, two separate attacks killed six people in Dagestan. Two of the victims were teenagers who tried opening a box that contained an explosive device. Another two teens were wounded, and a third man later died from the blast. In the city of Buinaksk, Agence France-Presse says three police officers were killed after unknown gunmen attacked their car.

Several international news agencies picked up the headline story, a result of increased global attention on countries in the Caucuses.

Tensions in the Caucuses Mountain region are nothing new, says Joel Griffith of Slavic Gospel Association. Some records indicate fighting between Russia and the Caucuses region that dates back to the 1700s.

"Some of it has a nationalistic element, and in more recent years, it's had more of a Muslim jihadist element to it," Griffith explains.

While rooted in history, violence in this region is now drawing international scrutiny because of the Boston bombers' ties to Chechnya.

Will ministry suffer as a result?

"Increased international attention might cause things to die down there for a while," Griffith says. "Or the militants who are out committing these attacks might view this as a time to increase their activities."

While it's hard to forecast at this point, Griffith says it does put believers in a tough spot. They're already doing their best to fly under the societal radar.

"Anything they do, I mean they really try to keep their heads low and not draw too much attention to themselves, simply because of the danger that is presented," explains Griffith.

But God is still working in big ways.

"Former militants have come to saving faith in Christ in a glorious way," Griffith states. "We know that that's happening, but again, it happens very quietly.

"We need to just pray for the believers that are proclaiming the Gospel, that the Lord would give them these amazing opportunities and open doors–maybe where people least expect them to happen."

Will you pray?

"Leaving the politics and the international geo-politics aside, we're concerned about the souls of everybody: men, women and children," says Griffith.

"Pray for the peace of these regions, and pray that the Gospel would advance."

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