By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
SANAA, YEMEN (BosNewsLife)– Islamic extremists in Yemen have killed at least two Christian men in recent months because they abandoned Islam and embraced the Christian faith, well-informed sources said Thursday, November 26.
The latest killings reportedly began in September when at least one member of terror group ‘Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’ ambushed a Christian man in the southwestern city of Taiz and shot him 15 to 20 times.
Another Christian man was was shot once in his home on October 2, Christians said, adding that he may have been killed by a Muslim extremist group or by members of his own family.
Christians declined to reveal their names citing security concerns.
The incidents follow several attacks against Christians involving family family members and militants in the heavily Sunni Muslim nation. In one the worst attacks a woman was burned to death last year as she was planning to leave the strife-torn nation with her husband due to persecution of her Christian faith, Christians said ay the time.
Nazeera, 33, was pouring oil into a hot pan when the oil bottle exploded, severely burning her, her family said. Her four children watched helplessly while her husband Saeed rushed to help her.
Two weeks later, Nazeera died, on June 23, 2014. Christians said it was later discovered that members of both Saeed and Nazeera’s family had taken the vegetable oil out of the bottle and replaced it with gasoline.
Minority Christians, who comprise less than one percent of the country’s 27 million people, are also facing an ongoing conflict in Yemen: Iran-backed Houthis and forces loyal to a former president fight against the Saudi-backed and internationally recognized government of what is the Arab world’s poorest nation. The Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the rebels and their allies since March, fearful of Iranian influence spreading across the Arabian Peninsula.
Analysts say others fighting the Houthis include southern separatists, local militias and Sunni extremists like Yemen’s al-Qaida branch,that Washington views as the most dangerous offshoot of the terror network.
At least 5,700 people have been killed in the conflict in Yemen since March 26, including 830 women and children, according to new United Nations estimates. Aid workers say the war has pushed the country to the brink of famine, with the U.N. claiming that more than 21 million people – 80 percent of the population – need humanitarian assistance