>Gadhafi captured in hometown Sirte
>Christians remain concerned as fighting continues
>Special prayer services have been held
By BosNewsLife Africa Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
TRIPOLI, LIBYA (BosNewsLife)– Libyan rebels reportedly captured ousted leader Thursday, October 20, but minority Christians remained concerned about their future.
In a statement the National Transitional Council (NTC) said revolutionary fighters detained Gadhafi Thursday, October 20, shortly after they gained control of his hometown of Sirte.
initial reports indicated that he was captured while trying to flee in a convoy. An NTC official also claimed that Gadhafi was wounded in both legs when fighters made a final push into Sirte, where they have spent weeks battling well-armed Gadhafi loyalists.
The coastal town located 360 kilometers (225 miles) east of the capital Tripoli was viewed as the last significant stronghold for Gadhafi loyalists. NTC officials have said the capture of Sirte would allow them to declare the country liberated, because it would mean the provisional government controlled all of Libya’s ports and harbors.
Minority Christians however have held special prayer meetings, including in Tripoli, amid concerns about their future and that of the nation, Christians with close knowledge about the situation told BosNewsLife earlier.
There are also worries about black African Christians who have often been confused by rebels with Gadhafi mercenaries, said Open Doors, an advocacy group supporting reportedly persecuted Christians.
“Believers from African origin are not going outside the city for their own safety, but otherwise everyone is safe,” added an Open Doors source earlier, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Heavily Islamic Libya currently ranks number 25 on the annual Open Doors’ World Watch List of 50 nations known for their reported persecution of Christians.
It is prohibited to evangelize to Muslims or distribute Arabic scriptures, according to Open Doors investigators. Small Christian communities are mainly containing expatriates.
Several countries have evacuated them when war broke out, but Libyan Christians staying behind faced tense moments since the NATO alliance started a bombing campaign to stop Ghadafi’s crackdown on opponents.
Before news of Gadhafi’s capture emerged Thursday, October 20, the Arab World Ministries group announced it asked believers around the world to pray for Libya’s small Christian community, comprising about 2.5 percent of the North African country’s mainly Sunni Muslim population of roughly 6.6 million people.