By Sam Eyoboka

THE World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has condemned yesterday’s attack on a bus in Egypt carrying Coptic Christians. Twenty-six people were said to have died in the attack while 25 others were injured, according to media reports, after unidentified gunmen opened fire on the bus.

The passengers were traveling to a monastery, St. Samuel the Confessor, near the city of Minya.

Tveit offered “heartfelt condolences to the people who lost family members and friends. It is shocking that this attack was directed against people who were on a pilgrimage of peace, and that this attack comes on the heels of ongoing violence and persecution.

“In the face of this brutality, the human family, all people of faith and of good will, must stand together to recommit to respecting and caring for one another, to protecting one another, and to preventing such violence,” he added.

The World Council of Churches appeals to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, to religious leaders and to governments across the region “to act swiftly and boldly to safeguard the fundamental religious rights of all faiths, to ensure security in the face of violence and to guarantee justice for all people.”

Tveit called for prayers, urging the WCC fellowship and others across the world to remain steadfast in their quest for peace and justice for Copts and all who are persecuted.

“Through prayer, action and unity, we can bring a powerful force of love in the wake of terror and violence,” he said.

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