PRAYER ALERT on Central America murder rates. Each year 450,000 homicides occur around the globe. Half all these homicides occur in just 20 countries. All of them are in Latin America, the Caribbean, or Africa, with just 10 per cent of world population. Four of the top five countries in murder rates share borders in Central America. They are: (1) Honduras: 90.4 (per 100,000); (3) Belize: 44.7; (4). El Salvador: 41.2; (5) Guatemala: 39.9. Nearby Venezuela with 53.7 and Jamaica with 39.3 take the number 2 and 6 spots respectively.
But number 3 Belize may soon jump to the front of this rogues’ gallery. In one week six people died in gangland murders in Belize City. Many kill in revenge for unprosecuted murders. Unable to rely on the corrupt police or on the slow judicial system, people are taking justice into their own hands. Or paying gangs to kill their enemies for them. In this way they enrich the drug dealer/gang leader alliances, and minimize the effect of police.
In response, the government announced that the Belize Defense Force would join the police in patrolling the streets. Together they would crack down on illegal firearms. They would gather intelligence and make surgical strikes. They would enlist the support of the aggrieved people trapped in gangland.
But those same people hold grievances against previous crackdown measures. The “Gang Suppression Units” alienated almost everyone as they trampled on the rights of many innocents. And the newly appointed (and former) Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, stands implicated of close relations with the now-imprisoned Danny Mason. Mason allegedly committed one of the most hideous murders in Belizean history, the beheading of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas.
The Belize National Teachers Union—among many others—protested the return of the “failed” Saldivar to head the Ministry of National Security. Instead, the teachers’ union demands more school counselors, more social workers, and more crisis training for both. It specifically promotes age-appropriate sex education that alerts kids to warning signs of incipient rapists and killers.
A gathering of church leaders recommended not only more Christian counselors for people in crisis, but also for reaching the gang leaders themselves. They called for updating and improving forensics, investigations, and prosecutions. They sought the appointment of a new Police Commissioner to carry out these reforms. And they urged their flocks to engage in many upcoming prayer meetings. Let us pray for all of Central America, the Caribbean and Africa, where in all 1000+ murders are happening every day.
PRAY WITH US FOR GOD TO:
–Hear the cry of innocent blood, as You did the blood of the first murder victim, Abel.
–Confront the perpetrators as You did to Cain.
–Send counselors to those who mourn, that they may be comforted.
–Motivate the police, prosecutors and judges with the urgency to do their jobs.
–Clear out the corruption so that justice may roll on like a river.
–Raise up peacemakers to cause gang wars to cease and streets to be safe.
–Send laborers to make converts instead of captives and disciples instead of drug addicts.
DailyInsight. God’s comfort zone is only for those who mourn over sin, suffering and death (see Mt. 5:4; 2 Cor. 1:3-7).
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